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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of Illinois

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Four-Year Prison Sentence for Filing False Income Tax Returns Highlights Consequences for Tax Crimes

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – The sentencing today of a Rock Island, Ill., woman for preparing false tax returns to generate refunds serves to highlight the potential serious legal consequences for running afoul of the tax laws.

This afternoon, U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow sentenced Roshaun J. Terry to 48 months in prison and ordered her to pay $214,329 in restitution to the IRS. Terry waived indictment and pleaded guilty on Sept. 18, 2017, to preparing false income tax returns for others to generate refunds. From February 2010 to May 2015, Terry was responsible for preparation of approximately 240 false tax returns that requested more than $500,000 in fraudulent refunds. Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Allegro represented the government in the prosecution of Terry.

In advance of the April 17, 2018, tax filing deadline, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office, are reminding citizens that falsely preparing tax returns and evading taxes are crimes.

“Every year, the people of the Central District of Illinois dutifully fulfill their obligation to fund their state and local governments,” stated U.S. Attorney John Childress. “Unfortunately, a few shirk that duty or worse, attempt to profit at the expense of their fellow citizens. Such behavior is not only illegal but unjust and those who engage in tax crimes will face vigorous investigation and prosecution.”

“As we approach the closing of this tax filing season, those Americans who file accurate, honest and timely returns can be assured that the government will hold accountable those who do not,” said Gabriel Grchan, the Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office. “Today’s sentencing of Roshaun Terry emphasizes that the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue their aggressive pursuit of those who would attempt to defraud America’s tax system.”

Three additional tax cases with activity in December 2017 reinforce this message:

Hisham Jaber, of Peoria, Ill., owner of H & M Investments, Inc., was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $506,416 in restitution to the IRS. Jaber operated Smokers Paradise, two retail tobacco shops, in Pekin and Canton, Ill. Jaber pleaded guilty in August to underreporting or failing to report a combined total of more than $1.5 million in taxable income for H & M Investments, Inc., for tax years 2010 through 2013. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Darilynn J. Knauss represented the government in the prosecution of Jaber.

Tina Cozart, of California, formerly of Carlock, Ill., was sentenced to 42 months in prison for defrauding her former employer of more than $1 million. In addition to restitution to her former employer and an insurance company, Cozart was ordered to pay $346,299 to the IRS. Cozart pled guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax return. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Darilynn J. Knauss represented the government in the prosecution of Cozart.

West Mpetshi (ma-pet-shē), of Jacksonville, Ill., was indicted on charges that he aided and assisted in the preparation of false income tax returns in 2015 and 2016. Trial is scheduled for August 2018. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris is representing the government in the prosecution of Mpetshi. An indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

For help and assistance in choosing reputable tax professionals for preparing tax returns, or for assistance in preparation of individual tax returns, please visit the official IRS website:

Updated April 12, 2018