North Carolina tax preparer sentenced for false returns


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Date: October 21, 2021


A North Carolina man was sentenced yesterday to 33 months in prison for assisting in the preparation of a false tax return and for filing a false personal income tax return.

According to court documents, Nicholas Laws, of Durham, was an office manager and a return preparer in the Winston-Salem branch of Tax Mind. As a manager, Laws trained and supervised other Tax Mind return preparers, reviewed tax returns, and filed completed returns. From 2014 to 2019, Laws prepared fraudulent returns for clients that reported false wages and business income to increase clients' refunds. Laws also edited some returns prepared by other Tax Mind preparers to include similar fraudulent information. Laws charged fees, which occasionally exceeded $1,000, to prepare false returns.

In addition to his preparation of false client returns, Laws also filed a false personal income tax return for 2014 and did not file returns reporting his income for 2015 through 2019, despite being required to do so by law. Laws intended to cause a tax loss to the IRS of $2,934,891.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge William L. Osteen ordered Laws to serve one year of supervised release and to pay approximately $184,072 in restitution to the United States.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department's Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Hairston for the Middle District of North Carolina made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Brian Flanagan and Kevin Schneider of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cliff Barrett of the Middle District of North Carolina prosecuted the case.