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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Federal Court Bars Georgia Tax Return Preparer and Her Business From Preparing Tax Returns and Orders Them to Disgorge Ill-Gotten Gains

A federal court in Atlanta, Georgia entered a permanent injunction against Marjorie St. Jean and MarjorieStjeanLLC, barring them from preparing federal tax returns for others and owning or operating a tax preparation business, the Justice Department announced today. The court also ordered that St. Jean and MarjorieStjeanLLC disgorge $367,346.14, representing the ill-gotten gains that they received for the preparation of tax returns making false claims. The orders were signed by Judge Eleanor L. Ross of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. 

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit available to certain low-income working people. In this case, the court found that St. Jean and MarjorieStjeanLLC, an entity owned by St. Jean through which St. Jean operates tax preparation stores, prepared tax returns that included fraudulent claims for the EITC, often based on bogus dependents, fabricated business income and expenses, and/or false filing status. The court also determined that St. Jean and MarjorieStjeanLLC systematically and routinely prepared tax returns that falsely claimed: (1) Fuel Tax Credits; (2) Household Help income; (3) unreimbursed employee business expenses; and (4) self-employed business income and/or expenses. The court concluded that injunctive relief and an order requiring that St. Jean and MarjorieStjeanLLC disgorge the ill-gotten gains that they received for the preparation of tax returns making such false claims was appropriate.

The IRS has a list of steps on its website that you can take and ten tips for choosing a tax preparer. Each year, the IRS releases the top 12 scams, known as the Dirty Dozen. Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2018, and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. The IRS has some information on its website for choosing a return preparer and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers.

In the past decade, the Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous tax preparers.  Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department’s website.  An alphabetical listing of persons enjoined from preparing returns and promoting tax schemes can be found on this page.  If you believe that one of the enjoined persons or businesses may be violating an injunction, please contact the Tax Division at tax.mail@usdoj.gov with details.

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
Updated August 21, 2018