A Louisiana woman has been sentenced to federal prison for submitting false tax returns for her clients to the IRS.
Baker resident Bridget Rogers White will serve two years behind bars following convictions for aiding and assisting in preparing and presenting false and fraudulent tax returns. The sentence was handed down by Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick.
According to an official release from the IRS, White operated an income tax preparation business, referred to as both "Bridget Stop & Go Tax Services" or "Bridgett's Tax Service." White accepted money in exchange for preparing taxes for individual clients, but did not identify herself as the paid preparer on the returns.
Between January 2015 and a known date of June 2018, White prepared and submitted numerous IRS Form 1040 returns with fraudulent information. For example, she routinely filled out false Schedule C documents, citing profits and losses from fictitious businesses.
Per the IRS, White also regularly submitted falsified versions of Form 8863, reporting fake education expenses so her clients could claim the American Opportunity Credit, a popular education-oriented tax credit. She also often submitted false Schedule A documents, creating nonexistent dependents.
All in all, White essentially altered her clients' real-life scenarios in order to reduce their tax liability to help them fraudulently claim credits for which they were not actually eligible.
Over the course of the investigation, authorities identified 31 false returns, though more could exist.
From the known returns alone, White's illegal deeds caused the U.S. Department of the Treasury a loss of $149,993. During her sentencing hearing, White admitted that the total tax loss she caused was over $550,000.
U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr. stated, "Fraudulent tax preparers cheat the government and honest taxpayers and will be dealt with accordingly. I want to thank my prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigators for their hard work on this case."
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