Louisiana Return Preparer Pleads Guilty to Filing Fraudulent Returns
Violated Court Order Barring Her from Preparing Taxes for Clients Caused Losses of More Than $6.9 Million
A Louisiana woman pleaded guilty to four counts of preparing fraudulent tax returns, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
According to documents filed with the court, Shawanda Nevers aka Shawanda Hawkins, Shawanda Bryant and Shawanda Johnson, 49, operated a series of businesses in the LaPlace area, including 3LJ’s Café Services & Sports Bar LLC and 3LJ’s Industrial Service Solutions LLC. Between 2011 and 2016, Nevers filed on behalf of her clients income tax returns that included fake business losses, deductions and tax credits and sought refunds to which her clients were not entitled. Despite a federal judge permanently enjoining her from preparing federal tax returns in 2014, Nevers continued to file fraudulent returns. As part of the plea agreement, Nevers admitted that she owes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) $6,934,764 in restitution, as well as $128,900 to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust and $964 to the Social Security Administration.
The sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 15 before U.S. District Court Judge Susie Morgan. Nevers faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison on each count, as well as a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Evans commended special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation and U.S. Secret Service, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hayden Brockett and Loan “Mimi” Nguyen, and Trial Attorney Grace Albinson of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting this case.
Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.