Joplin Woman Pleads Guilty to False Tax Return
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Joplin, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to filing a false tax return as part of a scheme that resulted in at least $138,000 in refunds.
Tara F. Garrett, 36, of Joplin, waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to a federal information that charges her with making a false claim upon the government.
By pleading guilty today, Garrett admitted that she prepared and electronically submitted at least 20 fraudulent federal income tax returns on behalf of herself and others from February 2010 through April 15, 2015. Garrett used Turbo Tax software on her computer to submit the returns, which included false wage and/or income information on each return for the purpose of increasing the earned income credit, which in turn increased the amount of the tax refund. Those refunds were electronically deposited into Garrett’s bank account or split between her account and the account of the individual for whom the return was prepared.
Garrett kept a significant portion of each refund as payment for preparing the fraudulent tax returns. The total amount of refunds claimed by Garrett, for herself and others, through these tax returns totaled at least $138,135.
Under federal statutes, Garrett is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Casey Clark and Steven Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the FBI and the Joplin, Mo., Police Department.