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Press Release

North Carolina Return Preparer Sentenced To Prison For Filing False Tax Refund Claims

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Caused IRS to Pay More than $780,000 in Bogus Refunds

A Wilson, North Carolina tax return preparer was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for filing a false claim for refund with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

According to documents and information provided to the court, in early 2015 Tawanda Denise Pitt, managed Integritax, a tax preparation business in Wilson, North Carolina.  Pitt falsified taxpayer client returns by claiming phony dependents and education credits and reporting fake businesses in order to seek refunds to which her clients were not entitled.  Pitt also admitted that she trained other preparers to file fraudulent returns.  She caused a tax loss between $550,000 and $1.5 million; the total tax loss resulting from false education credits alone exceeded $780,000.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm J. Howard ordered Pitt to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $203,106 in restitution to the IRS.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Higdon thanked agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam F. Hulbig and Trial Attorney Terri-Lei O’Malley of the Tax Division, who are prosecuted the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.

Updated May 8, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-599