Two North Carolina tax preparers sentenced to prison for 5 million dollar tax conspiracy


Date: January 5, 2023


Two North Carolina women were sentenced to prison this week for preparing false tax returns for clients and causing them to be filed with the IRS.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately 2009 through 2018 Betty Hawkins and Phyllis Ricks, both of Rocky Mount, conspired with others to file false tax returns for clients of the tax preparation businesses where they worked. These returns included fictitious federal income tax withholding figures as well as other fraudulent items that generated fraudulent refunds for the clients. In total, Hawkins, Ricks and their co-conspirators caused more than 1,000 false tax returns to be filed with the IRS that claimed a total of approximately $5 million in fraudulent refunds.

Ricks was sentenced today to three years in prison and Hawkins was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison. In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle ordered both women to serve three years of supervised release and to pay approximately $5.2 million in restitution to the United States.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department's Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Michael F. Easley for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Mary Frances Richardson of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Menzer prosecuted the case.