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Justice News

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty To Stealing More Than $228,000

LAREDO, Texas – Michelle A. Morin has entered a plea of guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false and fraudulent income tax returns, announced United States 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 has admitted to causing more than $228,000 in tax loss to the government.

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 today, 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. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Scott Hacker presided over the plea today. Sentencing will be set at a later date before U.S. District Judge George Kazen. At that time, Morin faces up to three years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.

She was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.

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

Updated April 30, 2015