Garland, Texas, Woman Arrested for Fraudulently Claiming Federal Tax Refunds
DALLAS — Cora Latrice Hopkins, who was arrested on August 2, 2012, by special agents with Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS CI) on felony charges outlined in an 18-count indictment, appeared yesterday in federal court in Dallas where a U.S. Magistrate Judge ordered that she remain in federal custody, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to the indictment, Hopkins is a Garland, Texas, resident and a former employee of Instant Tax Services, located in Dallas. The indictment charges her with 17 counts of filing a false, fictitious or fraudulent claim and one count of making and subscribing to a fraudulent income tax return.
The indictment alleges that from February 5, 2009, until March 12, 2009, Hopkins prepared, or caused to be prepared, 17 federal income tax returns for individuals that were presented to the IRS claiming tax refunds ranging from $5,591 to $11,049, knowing that those claims were false. The indictment further alleges that on April 15, 2009, Hopkins made, subscribed and filed her own federal tax return for tax year 2008 which contained materially false information reporting educational expenses, home office expenses, home office utility expenses, and the First Time Home Buyer Credit, when she knew that she had not incurred the expenses nor purchased a home during the qualifying period.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. Upon conviction, however, each of the counts for the filing of false claims carries a maximum statutory sentence of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. The one count of making and subscribing to a fraudulent income tax return carries a maximum statutory sentence of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine, upon conviction. Restitution could be ordered.
The investigation is being conducted by IRS CI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Yanowitch is in charge of the prosecution.
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