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Press Release

Alaska Bookkeeper sentenced for preparing false tax returns for drug dealers

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a woman from Houston, Alaska, was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for preparing false tax returns for drug dealers. 

Rebecca Renee Powell, 38, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess, to ten months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Courter and Thomas Bradley, who prosecuted the case, Powell, the owner of Alaska Contractors Bookkeeping Service, a bookkeeping, payroll, and tax service business in Wasilla, Alaska, admitted that she prepared false U.S. individual income tax returns for multiple individuals whose income was primarily derived from the sale of illegal narcotics.  She prepared several of these returns knowing that they omitted substantial gross receipts derived from marijuana sales.  Because Powell omitted the illegal drug sales, the individuals filing these returns falsely claimed and received the Earned Income Credit for tax years 2003 through 2007.

Powell also admitted to preparing returns in which she actively concealed the source of her client’s drug income and that she acted to conceal the source of these funds by creating the appearance that a legitimate business had generated this income. Powell admitted that she created false bills of sale and other documents in order to substantiate the fabricated figures on the return.  She also chose names at random from the telephone book to use as “customers” on these documents, and used the internet to research prices and other information so that the documents would be comparable to those sold in her client’s legitimate business.

Court documents reveal that Powell admitted to preparing two false income tax returns for an undercover agent of the Internal Revenue Service in March 2009.  On the returns, Powell admitted that she fabricated income and expenses.  She also offered to create false invoices and other documents to substantiate the fabricated figures in order to make the undercover agent’s purported drug income appear to come from a legitimate source.

In sentencing Powell to a prison term, Judge Burgess also ordered Powell to pay $13,910 in restitution to the United States Treasury and further ordered that she not prepare tax returns during the period of her supervised release. 

United States Attorney Karen Loeffler noted, “The collection and payment of taxes is a necessary and central part of the United States governmental system.  It is a system that depends on honesty and voluntary compliance for the most part.  In working with the IRS criminal investigators we will continue to vigorously prosecute those who chose to cheat and defraud the government”.         

"Dishonest tax return preparers who abuse their position and file false returns or help others conceal ill-gotten gains from criminal activity run the risk of prosecution. Anyone contemplating manipulation of the integrity of our tax system for personal gain should consider that they may one day find themselves before a judge answering for those actions," said Kenneth J. Hines, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Alaska.

Ms. Loeffler commends the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the Drug Enforcement Administration for the investigation of this case.

Updated January 29, 2015