Springfield Woman Pleads Guilty to Leading Tax Fraud Conspiracy
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Springfield, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to leading a fraudulent tax return preparation conspiracy that claimed nearly $340,000 in fraudulent income tax refunds.
Cherie Christine Dupuis, 43, of Springfield, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the charge contained in a March 31, 2015, federal indictment.
By pleading guilty today, Dupuis admitted that she and co-conspirators defrauded the government by filing false claims for income tax refunds from February 2009 to March 2012.
In the false and fraudulent federal income tax returns they prepared and filed, conspirators claimed refunds from the IRS totaling approximately $340,630, of which approximately $336,839 was false. Over the course of the scheme, the total actual tax loss to the IRS was $284,169.
Conspirators recruited individuals to assist in filing fraudulent returns, and obtained their identifying information, including their names and Social Security numbers. They used that information to file federal income tax returns that included fictitious employment information and reported wages that had not been earned and employment taxes that had not been withheld. Conspirators shared employer information for the purpose of creating fictitious W-2 forms. They also shared dependent information to enable them to falsely claim dependents on their returns.
Dupuis utilized tax preparation software called Taxact.com to prepare these false federal income tax returns on her own laptop computer, public library computers and on a co-conspirator’s laptop computer. She used a co-conspirator’s mailing address on some false federal income tax returns.
Dupuis admitted that she filed fraudulent federal income tax returns in her own name and for at least 19 other individuals. Dupuis would usually split the fraudulent refunds with her co-conspirators.
The total amount of the false claims Dupuis personally prepared and/or filed was approximately $298,708, with approximately $256,281 being paid on these false claims and a loss to the government of approximately $213,711.
Under federal statutes, Dupuis is subject to a sentence of up to 10 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 Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.