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Press Release

Former Independence Tax Preparer Sentenced for Preparing 1,000 False Returns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri
Clients Received Nearly $700,000 in Fraudulent Refunds

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Killeen, Texas, woman who formerly operated a tax preparation service in Independence, Missouri, was sentenced in federal court today for her role in a conspiracy that prepared more than 1,000 false tax returns that resulted in nearly $700,000 in fraudulent refunds.

Monique Hernandez, 52, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips to four years and six months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Hernandez to pay $129,748 in restitution.

Hernandez owned a tax preparation service, Complete Tax Service located in Independence, from 2013 to 2016. Hernandez and her daughter, co-defendant Robyne Warburton, 33, of Los Angeles, California, operated the business. Hernandez continued to prepare tax returns for the business when she moved to Texas in 2015.

On Feb. 21, 2019, Hernandez and Warburton each pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to aid and assist in the filing of false tax returns. A sentencing hearing for Warburton will be on Aug. 30, 2019.

Hernandez and Warburton combined to cause a financial loss to the government of $692,000, conservatively estimated, from the 1,014 false tax returns associated with Complete Tax Service. However, interviews with tax clients specific to Hernandez alone confirmed a $129,748 loss.

Hernandez and Warburton filed false claims for inflated or false deductions or employee business expenses for their clients (such as commuter mileage, personal vehicle expenses, meals eaten during work, and charitable deductions). Hernandez and Warburton also encouraged clients to claim false “gross receipts or sales” on “Profit or Loss from Business” forms, in order to maximize the earned income tax credit. They also encouraged clients to claim non-eligible children as dependents.

After an undercover IRS agent confirmed the fraudulent nature of the tax preparation business, federal agents executed a search warrant at the office of Complete Tax Service on April 7, 2014. After the IRS executed a search warrant at their business, Hernandez and Warburton kept committing tax crimes for almost two more years, until January 2016, when the IRS revoked their tax preparation number.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen D. Mahoney. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.

Updated July 12, 2019