Carriere tax preparer sentenced for false returns

CARRIERE, MS (WLOX) - GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A woman who prepares tax returns in Pearl River County will spend the next three years in prison for preparing false tax returns.

Carolyn Lilly of Carriere was sentenced this week to 36 months in prison, followed by one year supervised release. She must also immediately pay $250,000 in restitution.

Lilly had previously pled guilty to a criminal information charging her with aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false 2005 tax return for two individuals. Lilly admitted that the return was false because the taxpayers filing the return were not entitled to claim $323,449 in casualty loss deductions as had been reported on their return.

Prosecutors said Lilly's entire fraudulent tax preparation scheme extended over a number of years, encompassed thousands of taxpayers - primarily in Louisiana and Mississippi - and represented a total intended loss to the federal government of between $20 million and $50 million.

"The tax system is built on the premise that taxpayers file accurate and timely tax returns. Willfully aiding or assisting in the preparing of false tax returns is a serious crime, punishable under Federal law. To ensure confidence in our tax system, Special Agents of IRS Criminal Investigation are committed to the aggressive pursuit and prosecution of individuals who intentionally violate the nation's laws," stated James C. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, New Orleans Field Office.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mike Hurst.

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