News and Press Releases

Laurenburg Tax Preparer Sentenced

September 2, 2011

Offense Draws 30 Month Sentence, One Year Supervised Release

GREENSBORO, N.C. –  United States Attorney Ripley Rand announced today that PAMELA DENISE ELLIOTT of Laurinburg, NC, was sentenced in federal court in Greensboro, North Carolina, on September 1, 2011, for fraudulent tax preparation.

United States District Judge James A. Beaty, Jr., sentenced ELLIOTT to 30 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release. ELLIOTT was also ordered to pay $ 46,848.00 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

According to the indictment ELLIOTT operated an income tax preparation business called Z&T Tax Service in Laurinburg where she prepared federal and state income tax returns for clients for a fee. ELLIOTT was authorized by the IRS to electronically file tax returns and issue refund anticipation loans. In 2010, the Fraud Detection Center of the IRS noticed a pattern of suspicious Schedule C income that was statistically improbable. The Fraud Detection Center notified the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS that suspicious tax returns were being filed through ELLIOTT’s tax preparation business. The criminal investigation revealed that, from 2006 through 2008, many of the returns ELLIOTT prepared had inflated wages or fictitious Schedule C income from operating a business. These inclusions were intended to qualify the clients for the Earned Income Credit and obtain tax refunds.

“Return preparer fraud is a priority for IRS Criminal Investigation and we have committed many resources to investigating and prosecuting cases just like this,” said Kay B. Jernigan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation-Charlotte Field Office. “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.”

The case was investigated by agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigative Division. Assistant United States Attorney Harry Hobgood prosecuted the case.

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