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Press Release

Federal Judge Sentences Tax Preparer To Seven Months In Prison For Filing False Returns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM -- A federal judge today sentenced a former Birmingham tax-return preparer to seven months in prison and ordered her to repay $70,045 to the IRS for filing false returns, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and IRS, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn sentenced JANICE E. FOY on one count of subscribing to a false federal tax return and one count of aiding in the preparation of a false return. Foy, 52, of Snellville, Ga., pleaded guilty to the charges in May. Foy owned and operated the now-defunct tax preparation business, VIP Tax Services, on Bankhead Highway in Birmingham. Blackburn ordered Foy to serve a year of supervised release following her prison sentence. Among special conditions of that release, the judge ordered Foy to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and to refrain from assisting or aiding others in the preparation of taxes.

"An integral part of the agency's mission involves detecting and stopping fraudulent refund claims," Hyman-Pillot said. "IRS Criminal Investigation identified and investigated the filing of false tax returns submitted by Janice Foy, and as a result Ms. Foy will serve time in jail for her actions. Special Agents work year-round to investigate and root out dishonest return preparers like Ms. Foy," she said.

According to court records, Foy orchestrated a tax refund scheme through VIP Tax Services. During the time Foy professionally prepared tax returns, from 2008 to 2010, she filed false tax returns on behalf of taxpayer clients who retained VIP's services, often including numerous false items on client's returns in order to maximize their refunds.

Foy pleaded guilty to one count of subscribing to a false U.S. tax return for claiming a First-time Homebuyer Credit of $7,500 on her own 2008 tax return, knowing she was not entitled to that deduction. She also pleaded guilty to one count of preparing a false federal tax return while operating a tax preparation service by adding false education credits, child tax credit and the First-time Homebuyer Credit to a client's return.

In her plea agreement, Foy also admitted to causing 26 false U.S. tax returns for 20 of her clients to be filed with the IRS for the tax years 2007-2009. Those returns contained fictitious dependents, inflated deductions, false income and expenses, and false education credits, dependent care expenses, and First-Time Homebuyer Credits or Residential Energy credits. Some of the false deductions and credits also enabled the defendant's clients to falsely claim the Earned Income Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. The total loss to the government was $90,798.

In a related case, KRISTIE SYKES, 42, of Birmingham, who worked at VIP, pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of a five-count indictment charging her with aiding in the preparation of false federal tax returns.

IRS-CI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Chinelo Dike-Minor is prosecuting.

Updated March 19, 2015