Date: October 23, 2020 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org BUFFALO, N.Y. — Amanda L. Rickard of Caneadea, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. to aiding or assisting in the preparation of a false or fraudulent tax return. The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles M. Kruly, who is handling the case, stated that between 2011 until 2018, the defendant prepared income tax returns for friends and acquaintances. During that time, Rickard reported materially false information on her clients' individual income tax returns. For example, in April 2018, the defendant prepared and filed a tax return for Client 1, which identified a child, Dependent 1, as Client 1's nephew and dependent. However, Dependent 1 was not Client 1's nephew, and Client 1 did not provide support for Dependent 1 during 2017. As a result of the false statement, Client 1 claimed an entitlement to a tax refund to which Client 1 was not entitled. Between 2011 and 2018, Rickard prepared and filed 23 individual tax returns which identified dependents that the taxpayer was not entitled to claim. The defendant maintained a notebook identifying the names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of a number of children—including Dependent 1—whose parents had not claimed them as dependents on their own tax returns. Rickard then used this information to prepare the materially false tax returns on her clients' behalf. During that same time period, the defendant also prepared and submitted individual tax returns on behalf of taxpayers who had not authorized her to do so. As part of her plea agreement, the defendant will pay the Internal Revenue Service restitution totaling $78,591. In addition, she will pay restitution of $19,722 to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The plea is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Jonathan D. Larsen. Sentencing is scheduled for February 23, 2020, before Judge Sinatra.