Date: September 23, 2020 Contact: email@example.com Raleigh, N.C. — A Jacksonville man pleaded guilty today to willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. According to court documents, Gene Hersholt Williamson, II, operated a tax return preparation business out of Greenville and Jacksonville between 2012 and 2018. Williamson fraudulently inflated his clients' claimed refunds by reporting fictitious Schedule C businesses on his clients' returns. If clients had minimal income, Williamson created a fraudulent Schedule C business for them, reporting additional income in order to maximize the claimed earned income tax credit. If, however, clients had substantial wage income, Williamson created fraudulent businesses with significant expenses to reduce their income, qualifying them to receive earned income tax credit. Williamson received 10% of the refunds for his services. To conceal his involvement in the scheme, Williamson did not list himself as the paid return preparer on any returns he prepared. According to the Government's proffer, Williamson filed false returns in his own name for the calendar years 2012 through 2017. On his personal returns, Williamson claimed credit for withheld taxes from wages paid by his solar business that were never paid to the IRS, claimed education credits he was not entitled to, reported fictitious business losses, and failed to report the income he earned from preparing tax returns. The total tax loss to the IRS was more than $600,000. Williamson agreed to make full restitution as part of the plea agreement. The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations is investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Menzer and Tax Division Trial Attorney William Guappone are prosecuting the case. Judge Dever scheduled sentencing for the December 14, 2020 term of court.