An unlicensed tax preparer, Barbara Antonucci, was sentenced in December to three years, 6 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,895,833 in restitution after being found guilty of conspiring to file false claims with the IRS.
Antonucci and her co-conspirator Sherry Taggart, created a scheme in which to maximize refunds with the IRS. They prepared and filed hundreds of returns between 2012 and 2014 seeking refunds totaling approximately $1.4 million. Acting alone, Antonucci filed additional false refund claims in which the IRS paid over $1.8 million.
The fraudulent returns included false wages and dependents and qualified their clients for the refundable Earned Income Credit when their true wages would not have qualified for the credit. They also list as wages self-employment such as “housekeeper” which is not documented by a W-2. They obtained names and social security numbers of minors and falsely listed them as dependents on tax returns for their clients.
Antonucci and Taggart also filed many false claims on their behalf.
According to Michael Batdorf, Special Agent with the IRS Criminal Division, “it is very important for taxpayers to review their tax return with the tax return preparer to verify that it has been prepared correctly before it is filed with the IRS and ask questions when they do not understand what has been prepared.”