The married owners of a Louisiana tax preparation business are facing dozens of felony charges for a fraud scheme that cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

James Terry Chester and Constance Brown-Chester of Lafayette, La., have been accused by prosecutors of filing fraudulent state income tax returns for their clients and themselves.

Investigators with the Louisiana Department of Revenue said the Chesters, owners of C&B Tax Service, submitted state tax returns containing fabricated business losses for clients who had sustained no losses and in many cases were not business owners. In addition, Constance Brown-Chester filed returns on behalf of C&B Tax Service claiming business losses that could not be verified with any documentation.

The scheme resulted in $226,000 in fraudulent income tax refunds.

James Chester was charged with five counts each of computer fraud and filing or maintaining false public records. Constance Brown Chester was charged with 11 counts each of computer fraud and filing or maintaining false public records. Each was booked on Wednesday into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

The arrests bring to 52 the number of suspects charged under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s Office.

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