Two Louisiana Tax Preparers Charged With Filing False IRS Returns
Two St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana, residents were arrested today on an indictment charging them with conspiring to defraud the United States and aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser of the Eastern District of Louisiana.
As charged in the indictment, Michegel Butler and Brittany Riquel Patterson prepared false tax returns in 2013 for clients of Crown Tax Service in Kenner, Louisiana. Butler is the alleged owner of Crown Tax Service, and Patterson is a return preparer at Crown. As part of the scheme, Butler and Patterson allegedly falsified returns by including fraudulent business income and expenses, dependents, and dependent care expenses. They allegedly sought to substantiate these false items by having clients sign blank declarations of business income and expenses, and false receipts. The indictment charges that some clients also were encouraged to buy or sell the personal identification information of others to facilitate the false reporting of dependents on returns.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, Butler and Patterson face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy charge, and three years for each count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return. They also face substantial monetary penalties, supervised release, and restitution.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Strasser commended Assistant United States Attorney Dall Kammer and Trial Attorney Lauren Castaldi of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting this case. The case was investigated by special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation.