Union Woman Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Ashley E. Browning, age 31, of Union, pled guilty in federal court in Anderson, to preparing and presenting false tax returns, a violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(2). United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain, of Anderson, accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Browning prepared and filed, and assisted in preparing and filing of, multiple tax returns for customers in exchange for fees. Browning carried out this conduct from her home in Union County and also from the homes of her customers who resided in and around Union County. Browning repeatedly falsified information in returns she prepared in order to generate fraudulent refunds. For example, Browning repeatedly submitted false information about customers’ income, federal withholding, and educational expenses. Because of this pattern of falsification, the Government issued approximately $200,000 more in refunds than it would have if accurate and honest information had been submitted by Browning.
Ms. Drake stated the maximum penalty Browning can receive is a fine of $100,000 and/or imprisonment for 3 years, supervised release of one year, plus a special assessment of $100.
The case was investigated by agents with the Internal Revenue Service and the Union City Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.