News and Press Releases

Memphis Resident Sentenced for First Time
Home Buyers Credit Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2011

Memphis, TN. – Edward L. Stanton, III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced today that Lacrecia Ward, of Memphis, Tennessee, has been sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla to serve 18 months confinement for tax fraud. Judge McCalla also ordered Ward to serve 3 years of supervised release and to pay $255,538.00 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). As part of conditions of her release, Ward is to amend her 2008 federal tax return and to file a 2009 return claiming income from this scheme to the IRS. She is also required to notify any future employer of her conviction.

Ward pled guilty on December 22, 2010, to one count of conspiracy to file a false claim against the United States.

According to an Information filed with the court, from January 1, 2009, until July 14, 2009, Ward and an individual named Kenneth Harris conspired with each other to defraud the United States by filing false tax returns with the IRS, falsely claiming First Time Home Buyers Tax Credits. The Information states that Ward worked as a runner for Harris, helping to locate individuals to participate in the scheme.

On December 15, 2010 Harris pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to file a false claim against the United States. Harris admitted during his plea hearing that the tax loss to the United States from the filling of these fraudulent returns was $2.7 million. Harris is scheduled to be sentenced on April 11, 2011.

United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton, III stated: “Our office is continuing its work with the IRS to bring to justice those individuals submitting false and fraudulent tax information. We will continue to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those individuals who unlawfully defraud the United States for their own personal gain.”

“Refunds should only be issued to taxpayers who are entitled to them. Regardless of what you call it, theft from the government is theft from honest taxpayers. At the IRS, protecting taxpayer money is a matter we take extremely seriously,” said Darryl Williams, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation-Nashville Field Office.

This investigation was conducted by IRS Special Agent Shari Paige. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen C. Parker represented the government.

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