Griffin, GA. Tax Preparer Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
ATLANTA - A federal judge has sentenced Buffy Drake to three years and nine months in prison for filing false tax returns that claimed over $2.5 million in bogus refunds.
“This defendant stole millions of dollars from American taxpayers through her criminal conduct. She is now going to federal prison as a result of her actions,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
“Return preparer fraud is like a contagious disease, it affects not only the preparer, but the individuals who have filed false information with Internal Revenue Service,” said Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Criminal Investigation is determined to stop these false tax refund schemes. It is our hope that this sentence will send a strong message that participation in refund fraud schemes does not pay and those who chose to participate will be prosecuted.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Drake operated a tax preparation business in Griffin named “Imagine That.” While operating “Imagine That,” Drake filed hundreds of false tax returns that claimed millions of dollars in fraudulent refunds. In total, from 2011 through 2012, Drake filed tax returns claiming in excess of $2,500,000 in fraudulent refunds. Drake retained a substantial portion of the proceeds from this scheme. In some instances, tax returns were filed without the permission of the individuals whose identities were used on the tax returns.
Drake, 43, of Griffin, Ga., was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison and three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay over $2.5 million in restitution. Drake pleaded guilty on March 5, 2014, to one count of wire fraud.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service‑Criminal Investigation with the assistance of the City of Griffin Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorney Thomas J. Krepp prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Newnan Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.