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Feb. 11, 2010

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(HOUSTON) – An indictment charging tax-return preparer Kimyosia Michelle Byrd with aiding and assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns for the years 2004 through 2006 has been returned by a federal grand jury in Houston, United States Attorney Tim Johnson and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Special Agent in Charge Rodney E. Clarke announced today.

Byrd is named in a 28-count indictment alleging she prepared tax returns claiming false Schedule C business losses to increase client refunds without authorization. She surrendered herself to federal law enforcement authorities yesterday morning and appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge that afternoon. Byrd has been ordered released upon posting $1000 of a $100,000 bond into the registry of the court and the signature of a surety pending trial. Her bond conditions include a prohibition against any involvement in the preparation of tax returns.

Each of the charges carries a maximum prison term of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 upon conviction.

"While most return preparers provide excellent service to their clients, a few unscrupulous tax preparers file false and fraudulent returns in an effort to defraud the government, the taxpaying public and their own clients,” said IRS Clarke. “One must remember, once the IRS detects a fraudulent return, it is the ultimate responsibility of the taxpayer, not the return preparer, who must pay the additional taxes and interest which may be subject to penalties.”

“Taxpayers need to be mindful of a few red flags when considering a tax preparer,” Clarke advised. “These include tax preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers along with preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the refund. Always check the preparers credentials. Decide whether the individual or firm will be around to answer questions about the preparation of the tax return months or even years after the return has been filed. Find out if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization. Utilize a reputable tax professional who signs the tax return and provides the taxpayer with copy. Only attorneys, certified public accountants and enrolled agents can represent taxpayers before the IRS in all matters including audits, collection actions and appeals. Considering this advice could save many taxpayers a host of problems.”

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Special Agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jimmy Sledge Jr.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.


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