A federal grand jury in Waco, Texas, has returned an indictment, which was unsealed today, charging two Texas tax return preparers with conspiracy to defraud the United States, aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns and filing false personal income tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
According to the indictment, Stacey Anderson, with the assistance of Janell Lightner, operated a tax preparation business, Anderson Professional Tax Services, in Texas. The business did not have a storefront and typically prepared and filed tax returns from Anderson’s personal residence. The indictment alleges that Anderson and Lightner conspired to defraud the United States and prepared clients’ tax returns, for years 2013 through 2017, that falsely claimed business losses, deductions and/or education tax credits, in order to fraudulently increase their tax refunds. Anderson’s and Lightner’s clients were from Texas, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The indictment further charges Anderson alone with filing false 2013 and 2014 tax returns for herself, on which she sought the same education credit that she falsely claimed on her clients’ returns, and that omitted income earned from her return preparation business.
If convicted, Anderson and Lightner face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and three years in prison for each count of preparing false tax returns. Anderson also faces a sentence of up to three years in prison for the counts related to her own tax returns. In addition, Anderson and Lightner are subject to a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman commended special agents of Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration, who conducted the investigation, and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Robert Kemins and David Zisserson, who are prosecuting the case. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas (Waco Division) for their substantial assistance.