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Press Release

Former Deputy Pleads Guilty to Preparing Fraudulent Tax Returns

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

Contact Person: T. DeWayne Pearson (803) 929-3000

Columbia, SC - United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated that former Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Maribel Crespo, age 40, of Columbia, South Carolina, entered a guilty plea to presenting false claims to the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287. According to information presented during the plea hearing, Crespo prepared fraudulent tax returns for other former Richland County Sheriff’s Deputies by adding false and fictitious information to the returns. Crespo attached children’s information to the tax returns so that she could claim them as false dependents and artificially inflate the amount of the tax return. These children were typically citizen children of non-citizen Hispanics in the Columbia area. Crespo would facilitate the payment of part of the return to the parents of the dependent, some to herself and the remainder to the tax filer. Based on IRS calculations, Crespo caused $327,963 in loss to the Treasury based on her fraudulent returns.

Internal Revenue Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Holloman III said, “IRS, Criminal Investigation takes seriously any attempts to steal taxpayer money through false claims for refunds; and certainly when those false claims are made by someone sworn to uphold the law.” Sentencing in the case has not yet been scheduled, but Crespo faces a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The case was investigated by Special Agents with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the South Carolina Department of Revenue. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney T. DeWayne Pearson of the Columbia office.

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Updated March 4, 2016

Topic
Tax