Montgomery Woman Convicted of Ten Counts of Filing False Tax Returns
Montgomery, Alabama – On Thursday, May 9, 2019, a federal jury convicted a Montgomery woman, Laquanda Gilmore Garrott, 39, on ten counts of aiding and assisting the filing of a false federal income tax return, announced United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr. and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Holloman, III of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division.
The trial evidence showed that, from 2011 through 2015, Garrott operated a tax preparation business called L&G Associates, LLC. Garrott’s business was located in a shopping center off of the Southern Boulevard in Montgomery. At her business, Garrott knowingly put false information on her client’s tax returns in order to artificially inflate the clients’ tax refunds and, in turn, her own fees. For example, Garrott falsely claimed that one client lost more than $30,000 on a side lawn care business even though she knew the client did not operate such a business. By including the false business losses, Garrott was able to offset the client’s taxable income and make the client eligible for a refundable tax credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Garrott’s business was very profitable. During the trial, the government established that during 2014 and 2015, Garrott prepared over 1,500 returns and collected more than $370,000 in tax preparation fees.
Following these convictions, Garrott is facing up to 3 years in prison on each count, substantial fines, and an order of restitution. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Filing false tax returns is not only a crime against the government, it is also a crime against each American taxpayer,” commented United States Attorney Franklin. “Ms. Garrott removed hard-earned tax dollars from the public coffers for her own profit. My office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to identify tax cheats and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
“As filing season has now come to an end, those who might consider preparing false tax returns should be aware of the extremely negative consequences as evidenced by the guilty verdict of Laquanda Garrott. This verdict sends a clear message that IRS Criminal Investigation operates year round to protect the integrity of our tax system," stated Thomas J. Holloman, III, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Office. “This verdict is an important victory for America's taxpayers who play by the rules and have no tolerance for those who make up their own rules. This conviction serves to remind us that there is no such thing as free money and there are no awards or incentives for creativity when it comes to crime.”
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan S. Ross and Alice S. LaCour are prosecuting the case.