Gainesville Tax Preparer Charged with Tax Fraud Crimes
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – Belinda Gail Sheppard-Lewis, 59, of Gainesville, was arraigned today in the U.S. District Court in Gainesville after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging her with filing a false tax return (four counts), wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The indictment was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
The indictment alleges that Sheppard-Lewis, an owner of a tax preparation business, filed false personal individual income tax returns for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014, and under reported her income and tax liability. The indictment also alleges that Sheppard-Lewis fraudulently used another person’s social security number to claim the person as a dependent.
Sheppard-Lewis was released, pending trial. The trial is scheduled for May 23 at 8:30 a.m. at the United States Courthouse in Gainesville.
This case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jason S. Beaton is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.
For more information, contact:
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer