News

Baltimore Tax Preparer Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns Resulting in a Tax Loss of over $3.4 Million


Prepared False Tax Returns on Behalf of Clients and On Her Personal Returns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg sentenced Sharolyn L. Yarbrough, age 35, of Baltimore, today to three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for preparing false tax returns and filing a false tax return, resulting in a tax loss of over $3.4 million for the years 2006 through 2009. Judge Legg also entered an order requiring Yarbrough to pay restitution of $3,414,445.16.

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

According to Yarbrough’s plea agreement, in 2003 she began preparing tax returns as a part-time employee at a nationwide tax preparation service. Two years later, without any other formal tax preparation or accounting training, Yarbrough started Sly’s Financial Services. From 2004 to the present, Yarbrough also had other part-time jobs and ventures, including running a bail bonds business and working as a notary and settlement agent for real estate transactions.

From at least the spring of 2005 through the spring of 2010, Yarbrough routinely prepared false tax returns for her clients, fabricating and inflating deductions and credits to decrease their tax liability and to generate refunds for her clients. Yarbrough used several different techniques to fraudulently reduce the tax owed and to generate substantial refunds on her clients’ returns, including overstating the amounts of charitable contributions made by her clients, and claiming false or inflated business losses and/or business expenses, often for businesses that did not exist. As a result, Yarbrough was able to obtain tax refunds for her clients to which they were not entitled, and allowed many of them to avoid paying taxes that were owed. Almost all, 99.5%, of the tax returns Yarbrough filed resulted in refunds for her clients. The tax loss resulting from this scheme was at least $3,128,335.16.

Additionally, Yarbrough admits that she filed false personal tax returns for the years 2006 through 2009, fabricating and inflating deductions and credits, and under-reporting her income. As a result, Yarbrough owes taxes of at least $286,110.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended IRS-CI for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Sujit Raman, who prosecuted the case.

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