Former Pontiac Tax Preparers Plead Guilty ToConspiracy To Defraud The United States
Tamika and Brandon Lee of Pontiac pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the government by submitting false claims for income tax refunds, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Jarod Koopman, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.
The Lees entered the guilty pleas before United States District Judge Sean F. Cox.
According to court records, Brandon Lee and Tamika Hawkins Lee, husband and wife, owned and operated Quick Money Tax Loan Center in Pontiac, MI. The two prepared and filed false tax returns for individuals for the 2009 and 2010 tax years. These returns claimed false or inflated expenses on Form 1040 Schedule C – Profit or Loss From Business, as well as false education credits. The falsified items caused the taxpayers’ refunds to be larger than what they were entitled to by increasing the Earned Income Credit and the Hope Education Credit.
During the hearings, the Lees admitted to participating in the conspiracy which involved 26 false income tax returns. The total refunds, approximately $183,664, were directed to a business bank account that was open and controlled by the Lees. Once the refunds were deposited, the Lees would issue a check to the taxpayers for a portion of the refund and keep the remainder for themselves.
"IRS Criminal Investigation focuses on protecting revenue by identifying, investigating and prosecuting abusive return preparers. This case also accentuates the importance of carefully selecting a tax return preparer,” said Special Agent in Charge Koopman.
Tamika Hawkins Lee and Brandon Lee pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the government by submitting false claims for income tax refunds on October 22 and 29, 2014 respectively. Sentencing for Tamika Hawkins Lee is scheduled for March 27, 2015. Bandon Lee’s sentencing is scheduled for February 27, 2015 at 2 p.m. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to defraud the United States government is ten years imprisonment; three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine.The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross MacKenzie. The case was investigated by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.