Garland, Texas, Tax Preparer Sentenced To More Than Three Years In Federal Prison For Submitting Hundreds Of Tax Returns That Falsely Claimed First Time Homebuyer Credit
Instant Tax Service Manager Also Ordered to Pay $1,665,000 in Restitution
DALLAS — Cora Latrice Hopkins was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey to 37 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1,665,000 in restitution, following her guilty plea in November 2012 to filing a false claim with an agency of the United States. Hopkins, who according to the indictment filed in the case is a Garland, Texas, resident, has been in custody since her arrest in August 2012 by special agents with Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS CI). Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to the factual resume filed in the case, from December 2008 through March 2009, Hopkins was employed as the manager of the Instant Tax Service (ITS) office located on South Buckner Boulevard in Dallas. In this capacity, she was responsible for preparing and filing tax returns for ITS clients; she filed the returns electronically with the IRS, using an identification number assigned to the ITS office on South Buckner.
The factual resume further states that between January 1, 2009, and March 12, 2009, Hopkins prepared and filed 403 tax returns, for tax year 2008, with the IRS. Of these 403 tax returns, 316 claimed the First Time Homebuyer Credit that was available to qualified individuals who purchased a home as a primary residence in 2008. Hopkins, however, knew that the taxpayer named in each of those returns did not qualify for, or had not provided the information necessary to qualify for, the First Time Homebuyer Credit. Hopkins admitted that she knew that the false credits claimed on the tax returns would reduce the taxpayer’s tax liability or increase the amount of any refund due to the taxpayers.
The investigation was conducted by IRS CI; Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Yanowitch was in charge of the prosecution.