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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Louisiana

Friday, July 24, 2015

Opelousas tax preparer pleads guilty to tax evasion charge

Hid more than a half a million dollars of income

LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that the owner of an Opelousas tax preparation business pleaded guilty Wednesday to tax evasion and failing to pay more than $125,000 in taxes.

Lachala Guidry Joseph, 37, of Opelousas, La., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik to one count of tax evasion. According to the guilty plea, Joseph owned and operated Guidry’s Tax Service, also known as Dee’s Tax Service, in Opelousas from 2007 to 2014.  Joseph deposited business income into accounts held by her sister, mother and aunt in order to disguise the amount she earned. She filed her 2010 federal tax return stating that she only received $13,858 in wages and claiming a $7,695 refund. She also did not file income tax returns for years 2011 to 2013. In total, she did not report more than $510,000 in income, which resulted in a tax loss to the IRS of $125,014.22. Joseph’s business also added false cash income information to its tax returns in amounts high enough to qualify them for the maximum earned income tax credit, which resulted in her clients receiving tax refunds they were not entitled to.

Joseph faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $100,000 fine and restitution. A sentencing date was not set.

The IRS investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys David C. Joseph and Myers P. Namie are prosecuting the case.

Updated July 24, 2015