Four Tampa Bay Area Tax Preparers Plead Guilty
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Jamica Nelms, Capriesha Cummings, Camille Harper, and Ashley Flournoy have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit tax fraud and aiding or assisting in the preparation of false income tax return documents. Each faces a maximum penalty of eight years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, from January 2017 through April 2019, Nelms, Cummings, Flournoy, and Harper were income tax return preparers at Business #1 in St. Petersburg. They conspired to defraud the United States by preparing false income tax returns for numerous clients of Business #1 in order for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue tax refunds in excess of what the clients were entitled to receive. In doing so, Nelms, Cummings, Flournoy, and Harper documented on Schedule C forms they prepared that clients owned fictitious businesses which maximized the clients’ ability to claim the Earned Income Credit on their tax returns and thereby increase their tax refunds. They also fraudulently reported that clients were entitled to claim credits for fuel taxes or education expenses paid to make it appear that their clients were entitled to tax refunds.
“The defendants’ admissions today stress the importance of the taxpayer acting as the first line of defense against unscrupulous preparers and their scams,” said IRS-CI Tampa Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne. “With the filing season deadline just a week away, this investigation is a timely reminder about why the taxpayer must do their due diligence when selecting a preparer because ultimately you are responsible for your return.”
This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Greg Pizzo, Jay Trezevant, and Maria Guzman.