Manager Of Rocky Mount-Based Tax Return Preparation Business Sentenced For Filing False Tax Refund Claim
RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that today in federal court today, Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced CRYSTAL D. DICKENS, age 25, of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to 35 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release. DICKENS was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $652,413.00.
DICKENS was named in a Criminal Information filed on August 29, 2013, charging her with filing a false, fictitious, and fraudulent 2009 tax refund claim with the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287. On September 30, 2013, DICKENS pled guilty to the charge.
According to the investigation, DICKENS was a tax return preparer and manager at the main office of the now-defunct Hill's Tax Service (HTS) in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. (HTS was owned and operated by Larry D. Hill, Jr. Hill was sentenced to 100 months imprisonment on February 4, 2014 for related tax crimes). Between 2010 and 2012, DICKENS prepared and filed hundreds of false and fraudulent federal income tax returns for HTS customers, resulting in estimated tax losses to the government of approximately $1 million. The false reporting information, which included bogus interest and household help income, was intended to trigger inflated refund claims through the manipulation of the earned income tax credit (EITC). As part of the scheme, DICKENS paid herself for her "services" by netting cash payments from the fraudulent refund proceeds.
“Crystal Dickens thought she could steal from the United States Treasury,” said Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-CI “Today the defendant learned she will serve 35 months in prison for her fraud. Others involved in similar schemes should take heed.”
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Adam F. Hulbig.