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Press Release

St. Ann Woman Pled Guilty In A Tax Scheme To Obtain “Free Money”

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois

Ebonyi Blakely, 28, from St. Ann, Missouri, pled guilty to an indictment that charged her with conspiracy to obstruct or impair the Internal Revenue Service in the lawful assessment and collection of income taxes and distribution of tax refunds, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Sentencing is set for November 6, 2015.

Blakely admitted that she conspired with and assisted a dishonest tax preparer, Tanya Nichols, who filed false tax returns to claim inflated refundable tax credits for low-income tax filers such as the earned income tax credit (EIC) and the child tax credit, which were refunded to the filer. Blakely

recruited individuals to have their returns prepared by Nichols. Blakely admitted that she had her own federal income tax return prepared by the dishonest tax preparer. The false information contained in the income tax returns prevented the IRS from making an accurate ascertainment, computation, and assessment of tax liabilities. It also prevented the IRS from making a correct distribution of income tax refunds. The false tax returns generated a larger tax refund than the filer was entitled to receive. Tanya Nichols was sentenced on June 12, 2015, to a prison sentence of 57 months.

Conspiracy is punishable by not more than 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and not more than 3 years supervised release.

The investigation was conducted by agents from the Internal Revenue Service / Criminal Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman R. Smith.

Updated July 28, 2015