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Justice News

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

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sedalia Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Making False Claims on Tax Returns


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Sedalia, Mo., business owner pleaded guilty in federal court today to making false claims on 186 federal tax returns so that her clients received nearly $478,000 in tax credits to which they were not entitled.

Martha L. Stokes, 44, of Sedalia, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth to the charge contained in an April 3, 2013, federal indictment.

Stokes is the owner of Julis Authentic Mexican Cuisine in Sedalia, and also owned and operated Destino Servicios Administravos in Sedalia. She represented herself as a tax return preparer as part of Destino’s operation and, in 2009 and 2010, prepared federal income tax returns for taxpayers who resided in several states, including South Dakota.

By pleading guilty today, Stokes admitted that she prepared and filed 186 fraudulent tax returns for taxpayers residing in South Dakota, in which she falsely claimed an additional child tax credit for her clients to which they were not entitled. The tax loss for these 186 returns totals $477,934.

Under federal statutes, Stokes is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. 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 Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.

Updated January 14, 2015