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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 19, 2015

Previously Convicted Bossier Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud

SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a Bossier City woman pleaded guilty to making and filing a false tax return.

Karen Cartagena, 54, of Bossier City, La., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote to one count of making and subscribing a false tax return. According to evidence presented at the 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.

“My office is committed to the vigorous prosecution of corrupt individuals who prepare fraudulent tax returns,” Finley said. “The selective targeting for profit of educational and other tax credits, which are designated to help individuals in need, is reprehensible.”

“Return preparer fraud is a priority for IRS Criminal Investigation, and we have committed many resources to these cases,” said Jerome R. McDuffie, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, New Orleans Field Office.  “Ms. Cartagena was previously convicted of preparing false income tax returns and willfully chose to continue her illegal activities.  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.  We will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute return preparers who abuse the nation’s tax system.”

Cartagena faces up to three years in prison, one year supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and restitution.    A sentencing date of July 16, 2015 was set.

The IRS Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl M. Campbell is prosecuting the case.

Updated March 19, 2015