Executive Director of Alabama Association for Career and Technical Education Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Federal Funding
Montgomery, Ala. – Today, Acting United States Attorney Sandra J. Stewart and IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey announced that two Montgomery women, operating separate tax preparation businesses, have pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns. On October 14, 2021, Alisaya Danita Thompson-Dixon, 43, entered a guilty plea to for her role in filing false tax returns. Last month, Lashunda Deann Crittenden, 42, pleaded guilty to the same charge.
According to court records, Ms. Thompson-Dixon operated a tax preparation business under the name Magic Tax Service in Montgomery. In June of 2021, a grand jury returned an indictment against Ms. Thompson-Dixon charging her with numerous counts of aiding and assisting in the filing of false returns for clients from 2015 through 2017. During her plea hearing, Ms. Thompson-Dixon specifically admitted to assisting in filing false tax returns on at least two occasions. First, on February 15, 2016, Ms. Thompson-Dixon aided a client in a tax return that falsely claimed business income in the amount of $2,150.00 while claiming expenses in the amount of $67,107.00. Ms. Thompson-Dixon knew the client was not entitled to claim any business income or expenses and this deception resulted in a loss of $11,294.00 to the IRS. In addition, Ms. Thompson-Dixon also admitted to facilitating an illegal tax return on January 16, 2018. In similar fashion, she claimed false business revenue and expenses for a client that resulted in a tax loss of $10,499.00.
In the second case, Lashunda Deann Crittenden operated a tax preparation service located on South Court Street in Montgomery, Alabama where she prepared federal income tax returns for others. During her plea hearing, Ms. Crittenden admitted that on February 26, 2018, she electronically transmitted a return prepared by her that claimed a client incurred $8,726.00 in qualified solar electric property costs, $6,358.00 in medical and dental expenses, and $8,364.00 in gifts to charity despite knowing that the client was not entitled to claim these items for calendar year 2017. The IRS subsequently paid a larger refund to the taxpayer based on Ms. Crittenden’s misrepresentations.
“By aiding in the completion and filing of these fraudulent tax returns, both defendants stole taxpayers’ hard-earned money,” stated Acting United States Attorney Sandra J. Stewart. “I applaud the Internal Revenue Service for their efforts to identify tax fraud like this and hold the offenders accountable.” Acting U.S. Attorney Stewart also encourages all taxpayers to review their returns and confirm that they recognize the items on them. If a tax preparer refuses to let you examine your tax return before it is filed, or if you review your tax return and see a business that is not yours or expenses you do not recognize, ask for clarification or seek a second opinion from a different return preparer. For additional guidance, see the IRS fact sheet on their website at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/fs-08-10.pdf.
“Thompson-Dixon and Lashunda Crittenden knowingly manipulated taxpayers’ returns for the sole purpose of generating large refunds and preparer fees,” said James E. Dorsey, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Please be advised, if you file false tax returns for others, it is illegal, and you will face the consequences.”
A sentencing hearing will be held for Ms. Thompson-Dixon and Ms. Crittenden in the coming months. At their hearings, they will be facing up to 3 years in prison for each count along with significant fines. They will also be subject to an order of restitution to the IRS after the total losses are determined by the court.
These cases were investigated by the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division. Assistant United States Attorney Megan Kirkpatrick is prosecuting the cases.