Tax Preparer Sentenced For Fraud Scheme
PHILADELPHIA - Crystal Graham, 42, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced today to 12 months in prison and was ordered to pay restitution of $266,243 to the IRS for filing false claims with the United States through federal income tax returns she prepared. Graham pleaded guilty on September 22, 2014, to 11 counts of filing false claims.
Graham created bogus wage statements and other false financial information which she placed on tax returns that she prepared for individuals for the purpose of obtaining tax refunds in the names of the filers. The fraudulent returns sought refunds of $354,000 based on bogus expense deductions and refundable credits, such as a filer=s entitlement to the First Time Home Buyer=s Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit when the filer had little, if any, taxes withheld from income in that year. Graham also had her clients sign statements giving her the authority to deposit the clients= refund checks into her savings account, or to have the refund checks placed on prepaid access devices. This gave Graham the ability to take a substantial portion of the fraudulent refunds before giving her clients the remainder.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Cynthia Rufe ordered Graham to pay a $1,100 special assessment. She is also prohibited from preparing tax returns. The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Floyd J. Miller.