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Press Release

Vincennes tax preparer sentenced in fraud scheme

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


Evansville – United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced today that a tax preparation business owner was sentenced in federal court for her preparation of over 350 false tax returns in 2015, 2016, and 2017.  Deborah L. Richards, 56, previously pleaded guilty to three counts willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.  Richards was sentenced to 48 months (four years) imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young.

“We have all learned to trust our tax preparer to tell us what we rightfully owe or are due from the government,” said Minkler.  “Ms. Richards betrayed that trust and because of her greed, is going to have four years in the Bureau of Prisons to think about her actions.”

In 2015, Richards worked for Desirable Tax Services in Washington, Indiana, and prepared tax returns for clients.  Then in 2016, Richards established Terry’s Tax Service in Vincennes, Indiana, where prepared tax returns for clients in 2016 and 2017. 

Richards claimed false education credits, false American Opportunity credits, and false itemized deductions to inflate refunds due to her clients.  In addition, she provided altered copies of the tax returns to her clients which were different from the tax returns she caused to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service.  Richards then charged increased fees for her preparation of these fraudulent tax returns.  According to Assistant U.S. Attorney James Warden who prosecuted this case for the government, Richards earned over $250,000 in fees for her fraudulent tax preparation work.

As a result of Richards’ efforts, more than 350 false federal income tax returns were filed with the IRS between 2014 and 2017, which resulted in a loss to the Internal Revenue Service and the American taxpayers of $550,001.

Gabriel Grchan, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation, said, “IRS-CI does not tolerate abuse of the U.S. tax system to enrich the greedy at the expense of the honest.  Ms. Richards abused her position of trust with the taxpayers she represented for her own personal gain.  IRS special agents identified Richards’ scheme, collected the evidence, and today, obtained justice for the American taxpayer.”   

Judge Young ordered Richards to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $550,001.

Richards must serve one year of supervised release following her sentence.  



Updated November 22, 2017