Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 8, 2019

Waco Tax Return Preparer Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud the United States

A Waco, Texas, tax return preparer pleaded guilty Tuesday before United States Magistrate Judge Jeffrey C. Manske to conspiracy to defraud the United States announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to the indictment and information presented at the plea hearing, Janell Lightner, assisted co-defendant Stacey Anderson in the preparation and filing of false tax returns. Anderson operated her tax return preparation business, Anderson Professional Tax Services, out of Anderson’s residence in Waco. Lightner and Anderson conspired to defraud the United States by preparing false 2013 and 2014 individual income tax returns, which claimed false business items and/or education tax credits in order to fraudulently increase their clients’ tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Lightner and Anderson prepared returns for clients in Texas, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Lightner has admitted to causing a tax loss of over $1.3 million.  

In June 2019, Anderson also pleaded guilty to the aforementioned conspiracy charge as well as filing a false 2014 income tax return.  Anderson admitted to causing a tax loss of over $10 million. Anderson’s sentencing is set for Oct. 9, 2019.

The Court scheduled Lightner’s sentencing for Dec. 5, 2019.  Lightner faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge as well as a term of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration, who conducted the investigation, and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Robert Kemins and David Zisserson, who are prosecuting the case. Mr. Zuckerman also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas (Waco Division) for their substantial assistance on this case.

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

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Tax
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
19-843
Updated August 8, 2019