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August 24, 2009


(HOUSTON) – Nathalene Rice Pickens, a local tax return preparer, has pleaded guilty to charges he prepared false tax returns for local clients that inflated their refunds by $234,167 during 2002–2005, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Pickens faces up to three years in prison and $250,000 fine at sentencing on Dec. 11, 2009. 

Pickens appeared for a re-arraignment hearing today before United States District Judge Melinda Harmon. She stipulated that in an effort to build a reputation for generating large federal income tax refunds for her clients, she knowingly prepared, caused to be prepared and filed a number of false federal income tax returns that generated excessive refunds for clients for tax years 2002 through 2005. These returns were based upon false and fraudulently inflated deductions and credits that were intended by Pickens to cause, and did cause, aggregate losses to the United States Treasury of approximately $234,167.

Specifically, Pickens stipulated that on April 8, 2004, she knowingly prepared and caused to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service a false 2003 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return – Form 1040 for a client which included materially false deductions and credits without the client’s knowledge resulting in an excessive federal income tax refund for the client and caused a loss of several thousand dollars to the U.S. Treasury. Specifically, Pickens listed materially false Schedule A deductions for charitable gifts of approximately $45,816, for education seminars of $3,780, for uniforms of $2,618 and for hobby expenses of $8,415, totaling approximately $60,629, which had the effect of materially reducing the client’s taxable income and producing a fraudulent refund in the approximate amount of $12,108.

The investigation leading to the charges against Pickens was conducted by the Houston Office of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmy Sledge.



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