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Two Louisiana Women Plead Guilty to Helping Others Cheat on their Taxes

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    According to a Department of Justice press release, two tax Louisiana tax professionals recently pleaded guilty to engaging in a tax fraud conspiracy, resulting in the filing of false tax returns for themselves and their clients. As we approach tax filing season, we are reminded of the importance of completing your tax return completely and accurately. Likewise, if you have filed your tax return in prior years and such filing contains inaccuracies, such mistakes should be corrected before discovery by the IRS or state taxing authorities. If you have failed to file a tax return or have provided false or misleading information in a filed tax return, it is in your best interest to seek the assistance of an experienced tax defense attorney.

    Both Women Were Tax Preparers, One Admitted to Cheating on Her Own Taxes

    Court documents reveal that Morgan Antoine and Jennifer Austin assisted in the filing of clients’ tax returns under the Pelicans Income Tax and Payroll Service name. Prosecutors alleged that between January and April 2015, the pair artificially lowered income and reported higher withholdings than were true to generate larger refunds or to decrease overall tax liability. Additionally, Antoine was accused of filing a fraudulent individual tax return by adding a fraudulent dependent. The IRS and Department of Justice estimate that the pair’s illegal activity caused more than $550,000 in tax loss.

    Sentencing has been scheduled for May. Both Antoine and Austin face up to five years in federal prison. Additionally, each will likely be sentenced to serve a period of supervised release upon the completion of any physical incarceration. Lastly, the pair will almost certainly be ordered to repay the more than $550,000 in IRS revenue loss that they caused.

    Coming into Compliance to Avoid a Criminal Tax Investigation & Prosecution

    Tax fraud can be found in many shapes and forms. The most common is the simple overstatement of deductions, the understatement of income, or the fraudulent claiming of dependents or credits. Additionally, there is a swath of Americans who simply do not file their tax returns. Falling into any of the above groups puts you in a precarious position, as the IRS is only a computer algorithm away from discovering your failure to properly comply with the tax laws. The IRS has employed complex data analysis to discover those who have failed to properly comply with the nation’s tax laws. Year after year, the number of civil tax examinations, criminal tax investigations, and prosecutions that result from such technology investment increase.

    If you have failed to file a tax return for one or more years, have understated income, or overstated deductions on a filed tax return, you should strongly consider consulting with an experienced tax defense attorney. Together, you will establish the pertinent facts of your case, determine the most effective strategy to get you right with the government, and implement that strategy with minimal effect on your daily life. Your seasoned tax lawyer will represent you in any interaction with the IRS, which means you will never need to go up against the IRS alone. 

    Note: As long as a taxpayer that has willfully committed tax crimes (potentially including non-filed foreign information returns coupled with affirmative evasion of U.S. income tax on offshore income) self-reports the tax fraud (including a pattern of non-filed returns) through a domestic or offshore voluntary disclosurebefore the IRS has started an audit or criminal tax investigation / prosecution, the taxpayer can ordinarily be successfully brought back into tax compliance and receive a nearly guaranteed pass on criminal tax prosecution and simultaneously often receive a break on the civil penalties that would otherwise apply. 

    It is imperative that you hire an experienced and reputable criminal tax defense attorney to take you through the voluntary disclosure process. Only an Attorney has the Attorney Client Privilege and Work Product Privileges that will prevent the very professional that you hire from being potentially being forced to become a witness against you, especially where they prepared the returns that need to be amended, in a subsequent criminal tax audit, investigation or prosecution.

    Moreover, only an Attorney can enter you into a voluntary disclosure without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law (a crime in itself). Only an Attorney trained in Criminal Tax Defense fully understands the risks and rewards involved in voluntary disclosures and how to protect you if you do not qualify for a voluntary disclosure.

    As uniquely qualified and extensively experienced Criminal Tax Defense Tax Attorneys, KovelCPAs and EAs, our firm provides a one stop shop to efficiently achieve the optimal and predictable results that simultaneously protect your liberty and your net worth. See our Testimonials to see what our clients have to say about us!

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