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NATCHITOCHES TAX PREPARER PLEADS GUILTY TO FILING FALSE TAX RETURNS TO THE IRS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2013

ALEXANDRIA, La. United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that Lashanda E. Harris, 38, of Natchitoches, La., pleaded guilty on Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell, to aiding and assisting in making and subscribing a false return.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, from January 2012 to April 2012, Harris, a tax preparer in Natchitoches, assisted customers in preparing false tax returns for tax year 2011.  The returns contained false information concerning W-2, federal tax withholdings, Earned Income Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit.  Based on the false statements in the tax returns, individuals were able to obtain in excess of $100,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.  As part of the scheme, Harris received “kickbacks” from the customers.

Harris faces up to three years in prison, one year of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 and restitution for aiding and assisting in making and subscribing a false return.  Sentencing is set for January 30, 2014.

The Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth D. Reeg is prosecuting the case.


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