A Texas woman, Adela Cruz, has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for assisting clients in preparing and filing fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
From 2014 to 2017, Cruz ran a tax preparation business in Uvalde County, Texas. To increase her clients’ tax refunds, she falsely claimed education credits, dependents, and business profits or losses on their returns. However, Cruz did not sign these falsified returns as the preparer, instead concealing her involvement by employing fictitious taxpayer emails. Cruz also claimed unwarranted education credits on her own tax returns for 2015 and 2016.
U.S. District Judge David Counts not only sentenced Cruz to imprisonment but also ordered her to serve one year of supervised release. Additionally, Cruz must pay a $1,500 fine and $129,239 in restitution to the United States.
The case was announced by Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Jaime E. Esparza for the Western District of Texas. The IRS-Criminal Investigation was responsible for investigating the case, and Trial Attorneys Robert A. Kemins and Nicholas J. Schilling, Jr., of the Justice Department’s Tax Division prosecuted the case.
This case underscores the serious implications of filing fraudulent tax returns and the responsibility held by tax preparers to uphold ethical standards. Small businesses should ensure they employ ethical tax preparers and understand the potential legal repercussions if these standards are not maintained.
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