Woman Accused Of Faking Tax Filings - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/03/04

Woman Accused Of Faking Tax Filings

A Gulf Coast tax preparer pleaded guilty Wednesday to filing false claims in order to beef up her clients' tax refunds.

U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton and Michael J. Nelson, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigation division said refund claims filed by Raysha Harvey Callahan of Gulfport totaled $93,716 and ranged in amounts from $495 to $5,536.

Callahan will be sentenced at a later date. She was charged in January with 24 counts of presenting false claims on tax documents she prepared during calendar year 2002 while working with Fast Tax Service in Gulfport.

Prosecutors said while preparing tax returns for the 2001 tax year, Callahan had began a practice of altering the information that was to be reflected on the returns.

"Among the means Callahan used... were by adding false dependents, altering the taxpayers' wages, inflating the amount of federal income taxes withheld and claiming false moving expenses,'' Lampton and Nelson said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Callahan prepared a total of 1999 false tax returns, for which the total tax loss was $419,340.

In a number of instances, Callahan was able to obtain the benefit of the enhanced refund amounts by cashing refund anticipation loan checks that had been issued based on the fraudulent returns, prosecutors said.

Callahan faces a sentence of up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and supervised release.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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