WESTWEGO WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO STEALING TAX REFUND
TONYA NICHOLS, age 27, a resident of Westwego, Louisiana, pled guilty in federal court yesterday before U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier to one count of theft of government funds in an amount less than $1,000, a misdemeanor, relating to her stealing the refund of a client for whom she had prepared a tax return, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to court documents, 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 as a “Refund Anticipation Loan.” After the IRS processed the return, it determined he was entitled to a refund. The refund was then issued electronically, as a “Refund Anticipation Loan,” to the tax preparer on behalf of the client. 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. At no point was NICHOLS ever authorized or approved to obtain, use, or deposit her client’s refund.
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. Sentencing has been scheduled for August 26, 2010.
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