Date: January 17, 2020
Florence, South Carolina — Donna Faye Shird of Florence, was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to aid in the preparation and filing of false federal income tax returns.
The evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing established that Donna, and her codefendant Felicia Shird, operated a business known as Donna's Income Tax Service, which provided tax preparation and filing services for customers. During the period from 2012 and 2017, both Donna and Felicia began routinely adding fictitious information to the personal tax returns of customers in order to artificially increase the amount of tax refund the customers would receive from the IRS. Investigators discovered that customers of Donna's Income Tax Service provided correct tax related information to the Shirds with the expectation that they would accurately prepare and file the returns for the customers. Instead, the Shirds would create returns which falsely claimed deductions, credits, exemptions and other tax benefits to which the taxpayers were not entitled. Falsely claimed items included child and dependent care credits, business profits and losses, education credits, residential energy credits, and earned income credits. As a result, customers received fraudulently inflated tax refunds and Donna's Income Tax Service attracted more customers based on their reputation for producing such large refunds. The illegal operations of Donna's Income Tax Service, and the fraudulent conduct by the Shirds, resulted in a significant loss of tax revenue for the United States Government.
Chief United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell sentenced Shird to 18 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.