News and Press Releases

Tax Preparer Edwards Sentencing

September 15, 2011


WASHINGTON - Melissa Edwards was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Brian A. Jackson to 30 months in prison based on her plea of guilty to one count of wilfully aiding and assisting in the preparation and filing of a false income tax return, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. The court also ordered Edwards to serve a one-year term of supervised release following her prison term and to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $56,040. The case arises out of a March 31, 2010, indictment filed in the Middle District of Louisiana.

According to her plea agreement, Edwards, who worked at Jasmine and Melissa’s Tax Service in Baton Rouge, La., prepared fraudulent tax returns for 20 clients that reported falsely inflated telephone excise tax refund (TETR) credits in the total amount of $126,856. The TETR credit was a one-time credit available to taxpayers for the 2006 year. The sentencing court found that the tax loss, including all relevant conduct, was between $400,000, but less than $1 million.

John A. DiCicco, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Tax Division, commended the IRS Special Agents who investigated this case, as well as Tax Division Trial attorneys Kevin C. Lombardi and Matthew J. Mueller, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rene Salomon of the Middle District of Louisiana, who prosecuted the case.

United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., stated, “We will continue to work with the Department of Justice to stamp out tax fraud in this district.”

More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts is available at


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