NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - United States Attorney Bill Nettles announced on Friday that 30-year-old Latasha Failey of North Charleston was sentenced to a year in prison in federal court in Charleston for fraudulent tax preparation.
Judge Richard M. Gergel sentenced Failey to 12 months imprisonment and one year supervised release.
Evidence presented at the guilty plea established that Failey owned and operated Failey's Tax Service, a tax preparation business in North Charleston.
Authorities say Failey caught the attention of the Internal Revenue Service after an IRS fraud detection center identified a pattern of suspicious deductions on the tax returns that she prepared.
Based on this information, investigators say a search warrant was executed at Failey's business in March 2011, and her client files were seized.
After a thorough investigation, the IRS say they identified at least 145 false tax returns prepared by Failey and her employees in 2009-2011. According to authorities, these fraudulent tax returns caused a tax loss of approximately $500,000 to the U.S. Treasury.
"During tax filing season, return preparers and taxpayers should be aware of the serious consequences facing those who aid or assist in the filing of fraudulent tax returns," said Special Agent-in-Charge Jeannine A. Hammett, IRS-Criminal Investigation. "Those who fly in the face of the tax laws face investigation, prosecution, and if convicted, significant prison sentences and substantial fines." Today's sentence sends a strong message to unscrupulous return preparers who think they can get away with tampering with our nation's tax system."
Assistant United States Attorney Rhett DeHart of the Charleston office prosecuted the case. The case was investigated by agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigative Division.
Information provided by the United Stated Attorney District of South Carolina.