Tax Fraud Blotter: They Can Run …

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A roundup of our favorite recent tax fraud cases.

Jacksonville, Fla. – Preparer Candia V. Williams, 49, has pleaded guilty to nine counts of aiding in the preparation and filing of false tax returns.

According to court documents, Williams, owner and operator of Express Tax Returns, reported false information on clients’ returns, including inflated business income, to increase eligibility for tax credits. As a result of her actions, the U.S. Treasury lost more than $300,000 in tax revenue. 

After being indicted on May 27, 2015, and initially released to await trial, Williams fled Florida in violation of the conditions of her bond. On Jan. 6, a fugitive task force determined that Williams was hiding in a home in Gulfport, Miss. After a standoff with law enforcement, she was found hiding under a pile of clothing in a bathroom closet in the home. She was arrested and returned to Florida.

Williams faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison on each count.

Gulfport, Miss.: Former preparer Emma Raine, 52, has pleaded guilty to failing to report her taxable income of some $332,500 in two years alone, according to published reports.

The three-time widow, avoiding trial on a 35-count indictment with charges including bankruptcy fraud, is serving a life prison term in Louisiana on a recent conviction on second-degree murder, reports said.

A jury in New Orleans in August believed testimony that Raine hired a hit man to kill her second husband in 2006, according to published reports that added that prosecutors described her as “a black widow.”

Raine reportedly pleaded guilty to a charge involving income she did not report to the IRS for 2011. According to her cited plea agreement, she admitted her unreported taxable income for 2010 and 2011 was $332,525.06, resulting in a loss to the IRS of $94,107.01. She also reportedly agreed that the false returns she filed for clients for the calendar years from 2008 through 2010 resulted in a government loss of $150,674.

Sentencing is Feb. 10, reports added, when she faces up to three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and payment of restitution.

Binghamton, N.Y.: Preparer Donald Grant, 40, has pleaded guilty to assisting in preparing a false return and attempting to interfere with the administration of the internal revenue laws. 

Grant admitted that over four years he prepared 27 returns that contained false claims of business income, business losses and educational expenses, which gave Grant’s 13 taxpayer clients more than $100,000 in undeserved refunds. He also admitted that he interfered with the IRS inquiry into the returns, providing a client with a counterfeit P&L statement, encouraging clients to provide false information to investigators and providing false information himself when interviewed by an IRS.

Sentencing is March 9, when Grant faces up to three years in prison on both counts, a maximum fine of $100,000 for preparing a false return and $5,000 for interfering with internal revenue laws, and a maximum term of supervised release of a year. Grant may also be ordered to pay restitution to the IRS.

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