News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Tax preparer pleads guilty to defrauding the IRS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2013


MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a tax preparer pleaded guilty to devising and executing a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). Ieisha Smith pleaded guilty to one count of false claims. Smith, who was indicted on December 3, 2012, entered her plea before United States District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery.

In her plea agreement, Smith admitted that she began the scheme in February 2009, when individuals came to her home for assistance in filing their income taxes. Specifically, she filed false tax returns on their behalf by claiming that taxes had been previously withheld when that was not the case and that refunds were therefore due, when she knew that to be false. The IRS calculated the total amount Smith claimed through the fraudulent tax returns to be approximately $765,000.

For her crime, Smith faces a potential maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. Judge Montgomery will determine her sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled. This case is the result of an investigation by the IRS-Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Calhoun-Lopez.

According to the IRS, approximately 60 percent of taxpayers use tax professionals to prepare and file their tax returns, with these paid preparers now collectively responsible for more than 80 million individual tax returns annually. “Tax return preparer fraud” is one of the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen Tax Scams.” For more information about the fight against tax fraud or how to choose a reliable tax return preparer, visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tips-for-Choosing-a-Tax-Return-Preparer.

Per U.S. Department of Justice policy, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is not allowed to provide the age and city of residence for defendants charged in criminal tax cases.

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