March 10, 2023

McComb Tax Return Preparer Sentenced to 18 Months in Federal Prison for Filing False Tax Returns

Morgan Howard

A McComb woman was sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison and pay $58,668 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service for preparing false tax returns for her clients, announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and James E. Dorsey, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office.

According to court documents and facts revealed at her plea hearing, 41-year-old Elizabeth Stephens, 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 October 12, 2022.

“The sentence today 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.”

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.

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