Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 30, 2019

North Carolina Tax Return Preparer Convicted of Filing False Income Tax Returns

A federal jury in Charlotte, North Carolina, convicted a former tax return preparer of filing false tax returns for her clients and herself, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney R. Andrew Murray for the Western District of North Carolina.

“Tax return preparers who, for themselves or others, prepare fraudulent returns and otherwise manipulate our tax system will be prosecuted for their conduct and be held accountable,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman.

“For more than three years, Smith used false entries, including fabricated wages and business expenses, to capitalize on the Earned Income Tax Credit, which resulted in higher refunds for her clients. Smith earned more than $300,000 between 2013 and 2015 for preparing tax returns and failed to report the bulk of that income on her own tax returns. We are committed to protecting the integrity of our tax system by prosecuting tax return preparers, who use their knowledge to cheat the system and commit tax crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.

“Knowingly preparing and filing fraudulent tax returns is a crime,” said Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line. “IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to pursuing dishonest return preparers to hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Aminta Smith, 32, of Charlotte prepared income tax returns for clients that claimed false education credits, false W-2 wages, and false Schedule C businesses to inflate the refunds paid by the IRS.  In addition to filing fraudulent income tax returns for her clients, Smith falsified her own income tax returns by underreporting the fees she earned in her tax preparation business for tax years 2013- 2015  and failing to disclose that she was in engaged in the operation of a tax preparation business.

U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn of the Western District of North Carolina set sentencing for a later date. The defendant faces as a maximum possible sentence of three years prison on each count, as well as a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Murray commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Caryn Finley and Trial Attorney Allison Garnett of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

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

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Tax
Press Release Number: 
19-597
Updated May 30, 2019