A North Carolina return preparer was sentenced today to 22 months in prison for conspiring to defraud the IRS and one of her co-conspirators pleaded guilty on Wednesday for her role in the scheme.
Karen Marie Jones of Durham, North Carolina, was sentenced today to conspiring to defraud the United States. According to court documents and statements made in court, Jones owned Jones and Stone Taxes, a tax preparation business in Durham. From 2012 through 2017, Jones and two other return preparers at Jones and Stone, Andrea Marie Pasley and Audrey Renetta Odom, conspired to prepare false returns for clients. The returns fraudulently lowered the clients’ tax liabilities or inflated their refunds by claiming false education credits or dependents or by manipulating the clients’ income to qualify for larger earned income tax credits. Under the scheme, some clients were charged up to $3,000 for preparing returns. Based on an analysis of the falsely claimed education credits, the tax loss is approximately $1.2 million.
Pasley pleaded guilty Wednesday for her role in the scheme, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 11. She faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Odom previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the IRS in December 2020, and is scheduled to be sentenced in June 2021.
In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Eagles ordered Jones to serve three years of supervised release and to pay approximately $1,264,493 in restitution to the United States.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Hairston for the Middle District of North Carolina made the announcement.
IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case.
Assistant Chief Todd Ellinwood and Trial Attorney Kavitha Bondada of the Tax Division prosecuted the case.