News and Press Releases

Former Central Municipal Judge Sentenced to 24 Months for Tax Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2013

Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Janet H. Reese, age 48, of Central, South Carolina, was sentenced by United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain to 24 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $472,000 in restitution. Reese had earlier pled guilty to filing false tax claims, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Reese, who is a former municipal judge, operated her own tax preparation business. For tax year 2008, Reese prepared and filed multiple returns for individuals and claimed the First Time Homebuyer Credit on the returns. The taxpayers had never informed Reese that they had purchased a home and, in fact, had not purchased a home. Reese had the refunds from the First Time Homebuyer Credits electronically deposited into an account she controlled. This prevented the taxpayers from discovering that Reese had included false information on their returns. Law enforcement estimates that Reese’s fraudulent activity caused the United States Treasury to issue almost half a million dollars in improper refunds.

Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation stated “Return preparers who concoct schemes to steal public money face federal prosecution and federal prison. Individuals cannot fraudulently enrich their bank accounts at the expense of the United States Treasury and other taxpayers.” “Routing out fraud against the United States, be it tax, Medicare, or defense contracts, is a top priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Those out there who would illegally divert our limited tax dollars for their own greedy purposes should reconsider,” said United State Attorney Bill Nettles.

The case was investigated by agents of the Internal Revenue Service. Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.

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