FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, APRIL 5, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SEEKS TO STOP MISSOURI WOMAN FROM PREPARING INCOME TAX RETURNS FOR OTHERS
St. Louis Woman Allegedly Cost Government More Than $6.5 Million
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department announced today that it has asked a federal court to bar Ella Mae Peterson, of St. Louis, Missouri, from preparing income tax returns for others. The government’s complaint, filed yesterday in St. Louis in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, alleges that Peterson prepared false or fraudulent income tax returns while working at a local branch of a national tax return preparation firm.
The complaint alleges that Peterson worked for at least twenty years at the office of H&R Block Tax Services, Inc., at 4323 North Grand Boulevard in St. Louis. For tax years 2000 through 2003, Peterson allegedly prepared 1,751 federal income tax returns for H&R Block customers. IRS audits of 31 of those returns revealed improper deductions on each return. The returns Peterson prepared allegedly contained improper deductions for fictitious or inflated charitable contributions, business and medical expenses, and state and local taxes paid. The complaint projects that returns Peterson prepared for the 2000-2003 tax years have cost the Federal Treasury more than $6.5 million.
“People who prepare false or fraudulent tax returns cheat their customers and unfairly shift the tax burden to honest American taxpayers,” said Eileen J. O'Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Tax Division. “If you have your tax return prepared, review it carefully, and make sure that what you file with the IRS is accurate.”
The government’s complaint is part of an ongoing crackdown on return preparers who are giving false advice. The government has filed numerous lawsuits seeking injunctions against return preparers who prepare false or fraudulent federal tax returns. More information about these cases is available at: http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/taxpress2004.htm and http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/taxpress2005.htm. More information about the Tax Division is available at: http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/index.html.