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Dec. 10, 2009

LOCAL TAX RETURN PREPARER SENTENCED FOR FALSIFYING TAX RETURNS

(HOUSTON) – A local tax return preparer has been sentenced to prison for preparing false income tax returns, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

Nathalene Rice Pickens, who pleaded guilty in August 2009 - admitting she prepared false tax returns for local clients that inflated their refunds by $234,167 during 2002–2005, was sentenced this morning by U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon to 27 months in federal prison without parole. Pickens was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $234,167 and to serve a one-year-term of supervised release during which she is prohibited from any involvement in any business preparing tax returns. Pickens has been ordered to surrender herself to federal authorities within 30 days from today to begin serving her prison sentence.

At her re-arraignment hearing in August 2009, Pickens 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 IRS 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. 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. These deductions materially reduced the client’s taxable income and produced 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 IRS. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmy Sledge.

 

 

 

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