Department of Justice SealDepartment of Justice
Friday, October 3, 2008
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Federal Court Shuts Down Chicago Tax Preparer

Former IRS Employee Allegedly Prepared Two Sets of Returns and Pocketed Part of Customers’ Tax Refunds

WASHINGTON – A federal court has permanently barred a Chicago tax preparer from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. According to the government complaint, Debra Windham, a former secretary with the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Criminal Investigation Division, repeatedly prepared federal income tax returns for customers claiming false deductions and then applied without her customers’ knowledge for "refund anticipation loans" in their names. Windham agreed to the civil injunction order.

The government complaint alleged that Windham took a portion of the loan proceeds without her customers’ knowledge or permission. The complaint also alleged that in some cases, she prepared two sets of returns—one for the customer and another (claiming additional bogus deductions) that she filed with the IRS. The government further alleged that she pocketed the additional refund amount claimed on the filed return without her customers’ knowledge. As stated in the complaint, the IRS estimates a tax loss of approximately $850,000 for the returns Windham prepared for tax years 2004 through 2006.

"Since 2001, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained injunctions against more than 355 tax-return preparers and tax-fraud promoters," said Nathan J. Hochman, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division. "The IRS and Justice Department are committed to putting fraudulent return preparers out of business so they can perpetrate no further harm on the nation’s tax system."

Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department Web site, as is information about the Department's Tax Division. Hochman thanked Justice Department trial attorney Brian Corcoran and IRS revenue agent Peter Chlimon for their assistance in obtaining the injunction.