WESTWEGO TAX PREPARER CHARGED WITH STEALING TAX REFUND
TONYA NICHOLS, age 36, a resident of Westwego, Louisiana was charged yesterday in a one-count Bill of Information for theft of government funds relating to her theft of a tax refund intended for one of her clients, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to the misdemeanor Bill of Information, in April 2008, NICHOLS, a licensed tax preparer, assisted a client with completing and filing his 2008 tax return. The return indicated that any refund should be repaid electronically. After the IRS processed the return and determined tje client was entitled to a refund, the refund was issued electronically as a “Refund Anticipation Loan” to the tax preparer on behalf of the client. It is alleged in July, 2008, NICHOLS, using her business name, “Nichols and Dimes,” printed the check, endorsed it with her client’s false signature and the name of her business, and deposited it into her personal checking account.
If convicted, NICHOLS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of one (1) year, a $100,0000 fine, and one (1) year of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
U. S. Attorney Letten reiterated that the Bill of Information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Jordan Ginsberg.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org