Date: March 11, 2021 Contact: email@example.com ST. LOUIS — Lakisha Smith, of St. Louis, Missouri, pleaded guilty to two counts of tax fraud. Smith appeared, today, before United States District Court Judge John A. Ross. According to court documents, from 2013 to 2016, Lakisha Smith prepared approximately 28 fraudulent tax returns for her clients using the TaxAct commercial website. Smith prepared client returns reporting false income and withholdings in order to generate larger tax refunds. Smith typically received cash payments of up to $2,500.00 from the false refunds paid to her customers. The defendant was not registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a return preparer and she did not sign as the preparer on the returns that she prepared and filed for other individuals. "Return preparer fraud is a priority for IRS Criminal Investigation and we are committed to investigating and prosecuting cases like this," said David Talcott, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation division in the St. Louis Field Office. "Paid return preparers must sign the returns they prepare and include their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) issued by the IRS. Taxpayers are encouraged to visit IRS.gov for tips about choosing a tax professional." Judge Ross has set sentencing for June 17, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. The Internal Revenue Service investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Roy is handling the case.