Texas Woman Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud Scheme
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Killeen, Texas woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to her role in a tax fraud scheme.
Kalena Latoya Winston, 39, of Killeen, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016.
Winston operated a return preparation scheme for tax years 2011 and 2012. Winston solicited clients who lived in Colorado, Kansas and Tennessee, and prepared and submitted the returns electronically. Most of the false returns were filed with the IRS service center in Kansas City, Mo.
Winston’s main practice was to include false Schedule C businesses on her clients’ returns in order to increase the amount of the refunds by qualifying them for, or maximizing, the Earned Income Tax Credit. Winston also occasionally claimed false dependents on the tax returns. On two occasions, Winston used the personal identifying information the client provided her for the 2010 tax year in order to file a return without that client’s knowledge or permission for the following tax year.
Winston received debit cards containing the tax refunds from the false returns. Instead of listing her clients’ address on the returns, Winston listed the addresses of her co-conspirators so that she could maintain control over the refunds.
According to the plea agreement, the total intended tax loss for the charged conduct is $70,570. The IRS calculates the tax loss attributable to the relevant conduct to be approximately $200,000.
Under federal statutes, Winston is subject to a sentence of up to 10 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 is scheduled on March 14, 2017.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.