A Baton Rouge-based tax preparer was indicted by a federal grand jury Friday and charged with filing false tax returns seeking more than $500,000 in refunds, U.S. Attorney Walt Green said.
The grand jury claims Tamekia Cecilia Harton, 34, filed 214 tax returns between January 2011 and August 2012 that falsely represented taxpayers working for companies, had income taxes withheld from their earnings and were entitled to income tax refunds, Green said in a Friday release.
Harton allegedly misused the names and Social Security numbers of hundreds of taxpayers to carry out the scheme.
The tax returns requested refunds of $505,709, of which about $346,321 was paid, the release says.
Harton was charged with theft of government funds, misuse of a Social Security number, forged endorsement on Treasury checks and aggravated identity theft.
The release says Harton faces significant prison time, a fine, restitution and forfeiture of fraudulently obtained assets.
“We are pleased with the indictment returned today against Ms. Harton. The IRS will aggressively pursue individuals who use stolen Social Security numbers to file false tax returns,” Jerome R. McDuffie, acting special agent in charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, said in the Friday release.
“This case should serve as a strong warning to those who are considering similar conduct. Law enforcement will relentlessly pursue those who steal the identities of unsuspecting individuals, particularly those who are unable to protect themselves.”