Baltimore Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty in $224,000 Tax Scheme

July 16, 2012

Baltimore, Maryland - Alexis Brett Travers, age 37, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to two counts of aiding in the preparation of false tax returns and aggravated identity theft.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.

“The IRS as a whole is continually increasing oversight of the tax preparation industry. Return preparer fraud is a priority for IRS Criminal Investigation and we have committed many resources to investigating and prosecuting cases just like these,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Rick Raven. “Taxpayers should be very selective in choosing a return preparer, and have confidence knowing that person will prepare accurate tax returns and safeguard their financial information.”

According to her guilty plea, Travers owned ATB Tax Prep and Consulting Service which she operated out of her homes in Gwynn Oak, Maryland, and most recently, Baltimore. From 2006 to 2009, Travers concealed her identity as the paid tax preparer by not listing her or her company’s name on the federal income tax forms she filed, and by filing the forms electronically without obtaining a provider’s electronic filing identification number.

Travers filed at least 26 tax returns containing false business losses for taxpayers who did not operate a business, resulting in a tax loss of $137,406. Travers obtained a fee for her services from the deposit by the IRS of the tax refund into a bank account she controlled. Travers’ fee was sometimes as high as $1,000 per taxpayer.

Travers failed to report the fees on her 2006, 2007 and 2008 tax returns, resulting in an additional tax loss of at least $87,000 for those three years.

The total tax loss in this case is $224,000.

As part of her plea agreement, Travers agrees to pay $98,189 in restitution to the IRS for the three years of personal taxes that she failed to pay, plus interest.

Travers faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for preparing false tax returns and a mandatory sentence of two years in prison consecutive to any other prison term for aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz scheduled her sentencing for November 7 , 2012, at 9:15 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the IRS Criminal Investigation for its work in the investigation and thanked Special Assistant United States Attorney David I. Sharfstein, of the U.S. Justice Department, Tax Division, who is prosecuting the case.

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