Tax preparers sentenced in tax fraud scheme


Date: June 15, 2023


HOUSTON — Three women have received their sentences following their convictions of conspiracy to aid and assist in the preparation of false tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Tamara Turner aka Tamara Owens, Brittany Richardson and Terra White pleaded guilty March 22, Feb. 1 and Feb. 25, respectively. All admitted to their roles in the tax fraud scheme.

Today, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake imposed a 41-month term of imprisonment for Turner to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. Owens and White must serve two years on probation. All three were also ordered to pay $308,537 in restitution for the losses they colectiovely caused to the tax-paying public.

At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that scheme ran for roughly four years. In handing down the sentences, Judge Lake commented on the magnitude of the charges, the difficulty in detecting such schemes and importance of protecting the public from these schemes.

"Fraudsters like Turner learn that the real cost of stealing from taxpayers is paid by losing freedom. Return preparers that promise higher returns by committing fraud also shirk their responsibilities by placing the burden on all the other taxpayers," said Special Agent in Charge Ramsey E. Covington of IRS Criminal Investigation's (CI) Houston Field Office. "Our special agents and investigators are experts at following the money back to the criminals that took it."

From 2014 to 2018, Turner admitted she owned and operated AJW Taxes and More Tax Preparation Service, located on Westpark Drive in Houston. White and Richardson were employed as tax preparers at various times during the tax season. Turner admitted to submitting fraudulent Schedule C forms and W-2 tax records to the IRS. She inflated her clients personal and business losses to generate larger tax refunds.

Additionally, Turner admitted she routinely submitted altered or fake W-2 forms certifying employment for her clients and qualifying them for Earned Income Tax Credit. She also charged tax preparer fees well in excess of other tax offices that provide the same services.

White and Richardson claimed Turner trained them to submit fraudulent forms to create larger tax refunds for clients. They also admitted to utilizing a unique IRS filing number assigned to other individuals.

Turner was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

IRS-CI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Carter prosecuted the case.