You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 24, 2015

Tax Preparer Heads To Prison For Stealing More Than $228,000; Barred From Tax Preparation

LAREDO, Texas – Michelle A. Morin has been ordered to prison for aiding and assisting in the preparation of false and fraudulent income tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Lucy Cruz, special agent in charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). Morin owned and operated Discount Tax Service, a Laredo-based tax preparation business, and admitted to causing more than $228,000 in tax loss to the government. She pleaded guilty June 10, 2014.

Today, U.S. Senior District Judge George P. Kazen handed Morin a sentence of 30 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by one year of supervised release. She was further ordered to pay $20,146 in restitution. Morin is also barred from ever engaging in a tax preparations business.

At the hearing, an IRS agent testified regarding Morin’s fraudulent tax preparation business. Morin continued to prepare fraudulent taxes while on bond and has agreed never to engage in a tax preparation business. Upon sentencing Morin, Judge Kazen commented that she has robbed U.S. tax payers of hard-earned money. He added that Morin probably stole more money and that the IRS will eventually find it.

Between tax years 2007 - 2010, Morin aided and assisted in the preparation of fraudulent returns by willfully placing false items on tax returns she prepared for clients knowing they were not entitled to claim them. Such claims included false Schedule A itemized deductions, false Schedule C business losses and false Form 5695 residential energy credits in addition to gifts to charity, job expenses and miscellaneous deductions. Morin also, in certain instances, improperly directed portions of taxpayer tax refunds into her personal bank account.

As part of her plea, Morin admitted fraudulently claiming a false Schedule C loss in the amount of $83,184.00 for a non-existent online business on a on a taxpayer’s 2009 tax return. Morin also fraudulently reported $2,000 in residential energy credits that she knew the taxpayer was not entitled to claim. Subsequently, Morin improperly directed $2,000 of the false refund to her personal account. 

Morin was permitted to remain on bond, with the condition she does not prepare taxes, and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

This case was investigated by IRS-CI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sanjeev Bhasker.

Component(s): 
Updated April 30, 2015