Charlotte Woman Is Arrested For Preparing False Tax Returns And Obstructing A Federal Investigation By Intentionally Setting Fire To Tax Records
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A federal grand jury sitting in Charlotte indicted Andrivia Wells, also known as Tina Smith, Tina Harris, Andrivia Smith, and Andrivia Harris, 52, of Charlotte, on June 20, 2019, on charges of aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent tax returns for her clients, filing false tax returns for herself in 2013 through 2017, failing to file a 2018 tax return for herself, and obstructing the criminal investigation by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) by destroying records, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. The criminal indictment was unsealed in federal court today, following Wells’ arrest.
Matthew D. Line, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, Charlotte Field Office (IRS-CI) joins U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.
According to allegations contained in the indictment, beginning in at least 2011 and continuing through June 2019, Wells owned and operated Rush Tax Services, a return preparation business with multiple locations in Charlotte. The indictment alleges that through Rush Tax Service, between 2013 and 2017, Wells prepared, or caused to be prepared, more than 6,000 tax returns. Rush Tax Services received over $1.2 million in fees from her clients. The tax preparation fees were taken directly from the clients’ tax refunds and in many cases the clients were unaware of how much they were being charged, which was frequently more than $500.
According to allegations in the indictment, Wells prepared income tax returns for clients for 2013 through 2016 that claimed false filing statuses, false American Opportunity and education credits, false Schedule C businesses, and false fuel tax credits, in order to inflate refunds paid by the IRS. The indictment also alleges that, in addition to filing fraudulent income tax returns for her clients, Wells falsified her own income tax returns by underreporting the fees she earned in her tax preparation business for tax years 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, and in 2018, she failed to file any tax return with the IRS. In addition, her 2012 through 2017 tax returns also falsely claimed American Opportunity credits and fuel tax credits, and the incorrect filing status.
The indictment further alleges that after being notified she was the subject of a criminal investigation and after being served a summons for records of Rush Tax Service, on the very day the summons response was due, which was May 15, 2017, a fire was intentionally set at Rush Tax Service’s Beatties Ford Road location. The fire destroyed client files, financial records, and computer hardware.
Wells was arrested yesterday and made her initial appearance in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer. Each count of aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns and filing false tax returns for herself carries a maximum prison term of three years. The failure to file charge carries a maximum sentence of one year. The statutory penalty for destroying records is a maximum of no more than 20 years in prison.
The details contained in this indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
IRS-CI is leading the investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is in charge of the prosecution.