North Carolina Woman Sentenced for Running Tax Refund Scam in Syracuse
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York
UTICA, NEW YORK – Lathisa Smokes, age 38, formerly of Syracuse, New York, and currently residing in Charlotte, North Carolina, was sentenced today to 5 years of probation, after previously pleading guilty to filing false tax returns, and assisting others in preparing false tax returns, which caused the IRS to issue refunds worth over $100,000.
The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon, and Thomas Fattorusso, Acting Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Office, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
In pleading guilty, Smokes admitted that from January 2013 to March 2014, she falsely represented herself as a licensed tax preparer, and told taxpayers in Syracuse that she could obtain refunds for them by filing their individual federal tax returns. Smokes convinced the taxpayers to supply her with their dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, and other information for themselves and their minor dependents. Smokes then prepared and filed 21 individual federal income tax returns that she knew contained false information relating to the taxpayers’ income, withholding, and eligibility for certain tax credits. The false returns caused the IRS to deposit $102,918 in refunds to the taxpayers and Smokes. The IRS has recovered the majority of this money.
Smokes was also ordered to pay $11,135 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury as part of her sentence, which was pronounced by United States District Judge David N. Hurd.
This case was investigated by IRS-CI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emmet J. O’Hanlon.
Updated August 12, 2021