Date: October 17, 2022 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Montgomery, AL — Today, United States Attorney Sandra J. Stewart and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey announced that a Montgomery tax preparer was sentenced for aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false income tax return. On Friday, October 14, 2022, Lashunda Deann Crittenden received a 16-month sentence to be followed by one year of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. In addition to her prison sentence, Crittenden was also ordered to pay a fine of $20,000.00 and $11.993.00 in restitution to the IRS. According to her plea agreement and other court records, Crittenden operated a tax preparation service located on South Court Street in Montgomery. At her business, Crittenden prepared federal income tax returns for customers. During her plea hearing in September of 2021, Crittenden admitted that on February 26, 2018, she prepared and electronically transmitted a tax return that claimed a client incurred $8,726.00 in qualified solar electric property costs, $6,358.00 in medical and dental expenses, and $8,364.00 in gifts to charity, despite knowing that the client was not entitled to claim these items for calendar year 2017. The IRS subsequently paid a larger refund to the taxpayer based on these misrepresentations and Crittenden profited from the falsely inflated amount. U.S. Attorney Stewart applauds the IRS for its efforts to identify tax fraud like this and to hold offenders accountable. U.S. Attorney Stewart also encourages all taxpayers to review their returns and to confirm that they recognize the items to be reported to the IRS. If a tax preparer refuses to let a customer examine his or her tax return before the return is filed, or if a customer reviews a tax return and sees a deduction or an expense that the customer does not recognize, the customer should ask for clarification or seek a second opinion from a different return preparer. For additional guidance, see the IRS fact sheetPDF. "Return preparer fraud is like a contagious disease; it affects not only the preparer, but the individuals who have filed false information with the Internal Revenue Service." said Special Agent in Charge Dorsey with the Atlanta Field Office. "It is our hope that this sentence sends the strong message that tampering with the integrity of our nation's tax system will result in jail time." This case was investigated by the IRS's Criminal Investigation Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Megan A. Kirkpatrick and Russell T. Duraski prosecuted the case.