Tax Return Preparer Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Returns with the IRS
A tax return preparer pled guilty to filing false tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement.
Erica Antoinette Hollingsworth, 37, of Opa Locka, pled guilty to one count of aiding and assisting tax fraud, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Sections 7206(2) and 2.
According to court documents, the IRS received information that Hollingsworth prepared a false tax return for an unemployed student claiming a $4,000 refund. Based on this information, an undercover agent (UC) met with Hollingsworth in an office at her house to discuss the filing of a tax return. The UC provided identification and a Form W-2 to Hollingsworth. In exchange, the defendant explained the tax filing process and advised that a refund in the “thousands” was possible.
IRS agents then executed a search warrant at Hollingsworth’s residence, where agents recovered tax returns and a computer. During the investigation, Hollingsworth stated that she was a self-employed tax return preparer and had compiled returns through her current company, EH&S Professional Services, LLC, and previous company, A&E Professional Services. Hollingsworth advised that she learned how to prepare tax returns from another individual, who taught her how to get clients inflated refunds even if they were not entitled to such refunds.
Hollingsworth ultimately admitted to entering false amounts on some of her clients' Form W-2s. Hollingsworth made between $60 to $500 for each return that she prepared. Hollingsworth filed approximately thirty-five fraudulent returns that falsely represented that the taxpayer worked for a company, earned wages, and had federal taxes withheld from those wages, even though the taxpayer never actually worked for the company.
Sentencing is scheduled for August 3, 2016 before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez. At sentencing, Hollingsworth faces a maximum statutory sentence of three years in prison.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John R. Byrne.