Bossier City tax preparer sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud
SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that a Bossier City woman was sentenced Tuesday to 21 months in prison for making and filing a false tax return.
Karen Cartagena, 55, of Bossier City, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote on one count of making and subscribing a false tax return. Judge Foote also sentenced Cartagena to serve three years of supervised release and pay $84,147 in restitution. According to evidence presented at the March 19, 2015, guilty plea, Cartagena prepared and filed a fraudulent tax return on or about January 24, 2012. In the return, she added education credits (Education and American Opportunity credits) to which she was not entitled.
“While most preparers provide excellent service to their clients, some dishonest return preparers file false tax returns and give clients a false sense of security,” Finley stated. “I want to remind dishonest tax preparers that they will be prosecuted. This case should send a strong message to any dishonest tax return preparers who might be thinking of engaging in criminal activity. I also want to thank our law enforcement partners and the prosecutor in this case for their hard work in bringing this defendant to justice.”
“We are pleased with the sentencing of Ms. Cartagena and will continue to work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate and prosecute return preparers who abuse the nation’s tax system,” said Jerome R. McDuffie, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, New Orleans Field Office. “Tax return preparer fraud is a priority for our agency. Taxpayers should be very selective in choosing a return preparer; and have confidence that their returns are prepared accurately and reflect only the information that they provide. ”
Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl M. Campbell prosecuted the case.