Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Alexis Brett Travers, age 38, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for two counts of aiding in the preparation of false tax returns and aggravated identity theft. Judge Blake also entered an order that Travers pay $98,189 in restitution to the IRS for three years of personal taxes that she failed to pay, plus interest.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
“Return preparer fraud and identity theft are devastating for the victims, threaten the veracity of our tax system and cause tremendous financial hardship,” said Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Washington DC Field Office. “Investigating refund fraud and identity theft is a top priority for IRS Criminal Investigation and we, along with our partners at the Department of Justice, will continue to pursue the criminals who commit these crimes and steal from innocent taxpayers and the U.S. Treasury."
According to her guilty plea, Travers owned ATB Tax Prep and Consulting Service which she operated out of her homes in Gwynn Oak, Maryland, and most recently, Baltimore. From 2006 to 2009, Travers concealed her identity as the paid tax preparer by not listing her or her company’s name on the federal income tax forms she filed, and by filing the forms electronically without obtaining a provider’s electronic filing identification number.
Travers filed at least 26 tax returns containing false business losses for taxpayers who did not operate a business, resulting in a tax loss of $137,406. Travers obtained a fee for her services from the deposit by the IRS of the tax refund into a bank account she controlled. Her fee was sometimes as high as $1,000 per taxpayer.
Travers failed to report the fees on her 2006, 2007 and 2008 tax returns, resulting in an additional tax loss of at least $87,000 for those three years.
Additionally, the tax return filed by Travers for a client, G.A., for tax year 2008 contained a false claim for the earned income credit. Travers stole personal identifying information, including year of birth and social security number, from another client to use in G.A.’s tax return in order to obtain a greater tax refund for G.A. The tax refund was then deposited into Travers’ bank account.
The total tax loss in this case is $224,000.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the IRS Criminal Investigation for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney David I. Sharfstein, who prosecuted the case.