You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 16, 2015

Kalamazoo Woman Indicted On Multiple Counts Of Tax Fraud

“#1 Tax Lady” charged with filing multiple phony tax returns

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles announced today that Fontrice Lenee Charles, 39, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, appeared in federal district court today to be arraigned on 27 felony charges. The charges stem from Charles’s Kalamazoo business, “#1 Tax Lady.”

          On March 6, 2015, a federal grand jury charged Charles with 27 federal felony offenses. Counts 1-25 allege that Charles filed false tax returns for others, and supplied false information designed to ensure hefty refunds, between January 17, 2011 and February 4, 2014. Further information disclosed on court records indicate that Charles prepared 482 such tax returns during this period, resulting in improper tax refunds of approximately $2,000,000. Each of these counts carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and other penalties.

          Counts 26 and 27 of the indictment allege that Charles’s own tax returns for 2010 and 2011 were false as well. The indictment alleges that these returns were false because they did not report the income that Charles earned as a result of her fraudulent tax preparation activity, and because she claimed a deceased person as a dependent. Filing false tax returns is a violation of federal law and each offense carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

          Charles appeared in federal court today before Magistrate Judge Ellen Carmody. Charles requested court-appointed counsel, and the judge released Charles on bond. An arraignment and initial pretrial conference will be scheduled later this week. Chief U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney will preside over the resolution of the case. Prosecution of the matter has been assigned to Timothy VerHey, Assistant U.S. Attorney. The matter was investigated by the Grand Rapids office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

          The charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

END

Updated January 8, 2016