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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Suburban Tax Professional Guilty of Preparing and Filing More Than 160 Fraudulent Tax Returns

CHICAGO — A suburban tax professional has pleaded guilty to preparing and filing more than 160 fraudulent tax returns in an attempt to bilk the Internal Revenue Service out of at least $550,000.

LAURIE HELFER, 57, of Hillside, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return.  Each count is punishable by a maximum sentence of three years in federal prison.  U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall set sentencing for Aug. 22, 2019.

The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol Bell.

Helfer operated the tax-preparation businesses Laurie’s Freelance & Tax Preparation Services and The Tax Lady Laurie Inc., which were based in the western suburbs of Chicago.  According to a written plea agreement, Helfer filed approximately 162 false returns for the tax years 2007 through 2010.  In each of the returns, Helfer knowingly made material, false statements to obtain refunds to which her clients were not otherwise entitled.  The statements included false information about employment, educational, and child care expenses.  Helfer’s conduct resulted in an actual federal tax loss of approximately $54,797, and attempted losses of between $550,000 and $1.5 million, the plea agreement states.

Financial Fraud
Updated April 25, 2019