North Carolina Return Preparer Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Refund Claims
Caused IRS to Pay More than $780,000 in Bogus Refunds
WASHINGTON – A Wilson, North Carolina, tax return preparer pleaded guilty today to filing a false claim for refund with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
According to documents and information provided to the court, in early 2015 Tawanda Denise Pitt, managed Integritax, a tax preparation business in Wilson, North Carolina. Pitt falsified taxpayer client returns by claiming false dependents and education credits and reporting fake businesses in order to seek refunds to which her clients were not entitled. Pitt also admitted that she trained other preparers to file fraudulent returns. She caused a tax loss between $550,000 and $1.5 million; the total tax loss resulting from false education credits alone exceeded $780,000.
U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm J. Howard scheduled sentencing for May 8. Pitt faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison, a period of supervised release and monetary penalties. In addition, Pitt agreed to pay $203,106 in restitution to the IRS.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Higdon thanked agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam F. Hulbig and Trial Attorney Terri-Lei O’Malley of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.