Mississippi woman sentenced to federal prison for tax fraud
NATCHEZ, Miss. (WDAM) – A McComb woman was sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison for preparing false tax returns for her clients.
Elizabeth Stephens, 41, also was ordered to pay $58,668 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
The announcement was made Friday by Darren J. LaMarca, United States attorney; and James E. Dorsey, special agent in charge/Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation/Atlanta Field Office.
“The sentence (Friday) is an example of the consequences people face when they prepare and file false returns,” said Lisa Fontanette, assistant special agent in charge/IRS Criminal Investigation/Atlanta Field Office.
“As a tax preparer, Elizabeth Stephens failed to follow the ethical responsibilities of her profession.”
According to court documents and facts revealed at her plea hearing, Stephens, 41, worked at a tax return preparation business in McComb.
Between 2014 and 2017, Stephens prepared tax returns for clients that included one or more false items, including false W-2 information and Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business Forms.
These false expenses and altered W-2s reduced taxable income and maximized the Earned Income Credit, increasing the total refund amount.
Stephens was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 5, 2022. She pled guilty on Oct. 12, 2022.
The owner of the tax return preparation business, Shameka Wells, was sentenced on July 13, 2021, to 13 months in federal prison for filing a false tax return.
The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Purdie prosecuted the case.
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