Former Chicago-area return preparer pleads guilty to filing false tax returns


Charged $1,000 for preparation of basic tax returns

Date: June 28, 2023


A former Chicago-area woman pleaded guilty today to preparing and filing false income tax returns on behalf of her clients.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from January 2014 through about April 2019, Erica Early, a tax preparer formerly of Robins and Richton Park, Illinois, operated a tax preparation business for clients located in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. She often charged $1,000 to prepare basic tax returns. On returns she prepared, Early falsely inflated clients' income to maximize the Earned Income Tax Credit and falsely claimed education-related credits. Early, who was a U.S. Postal Service employee during some of the time she was engaged in preparing the false returns, also falsified her own personal tax returns, claiming education credits she knew she was not eligible to receive. In total, Early's conduct resulted in tax loss to the IRS of approximately $515,990.

Early is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 4, 2023, and faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison. She also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department's Tax Division made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Assistant Chief Matthew J. Kluge and Trial Attorney Boris Bourget of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case.