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Press Release

Columbia Woman Sentenced to More than Three Years in Tax Refund Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – Alice Felder-Lucas, 58, of Columbia, was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison for false claims against the United States and theft of governmental funds.

According to evidence presented during the defendant’s trial, Felder-Lucas filed fraudulent IRS Form 1040 tax returns petitioning for a tax refund of $708,190.00. As support, Felder-Lucas provided false IRS Form 1099 claiming millions of dollars of income and withholdings. Felder-Lucas’s tax return was flagged by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) for potential fraud. However, the funds were erroneously released to her. Although the IRS was able to claw back approximately $30,000 of the refund once the fraud was discovered, Felder-Lucas had transferred most of the ill-gotten funds to other bank accounts. She used the funds to purchase a new house and car. During her case, Felder-Lucas filed several documents with the Court alleging she was a “sovereign citizen”. The sovereign citizen movement is a broad term applying to a loose association of tax protesters, financial scheme promoters, and conspiracy theorists. Typically, adherents of the theory claim to be answerable only to their view of law and to not be subject to any government statutes, rules, or proceedings. The Court rejected these claims.

“To steal from the Government is to steal from every taxpaying citizen in America," said U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis. “The Defendant here stole from the American people and spent that money on luxuries for herself. She deserves to go to prison, and I appreciate our partners with the IRS for making this case possible.”

“Those who might consider preparing false tax returns should be aware of the extremely negative consequences as evidenced today," said Donald “Trey” Eakins, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS’s Charlotte Field Office. "Today's sentencing emphasizes that the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue their aggressive pursuit of those who would attempt to defraud America's tax system."

United States District Judge Mary G. Lewis sentenced Felder-Lucas to 41 months imprisonment for each count to run concurrently, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision.  There is no parole in the federal system. Felder-Lucas was also ordered to pay all outstanding tax balances to the IRS and ordered to pay $678,486.97 in restitution. 

The case was investigated by the IRS and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney T. DeWayne Pearson, who also serves as the Office’s Criminal Chief.



Derek A. Shoemake (843) 813-0982

Updated July 14, 2022