WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in Greensboro, North Carolina, returned an indictment today charging two tax preparers with conspiring to defraud the United States and assisting in the preparation of false client tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin for the Middle District of North Carolina.
According to the indictment, Karen Marie Jones owned Jones and Stone Taxes, a tax preparation business in Durham, North Carolina. From 2012 through 2017, Jones and Audrey Renatta Odom allegedly conspired to falsify clients’ tax returns by fabricating education expenses that clients did not incur, in an effort to increase refunds to be paid by the IRS. Jones, Odom, and others allegedly charged some clients up to $3,000 for preparing their return.
If convicted, Jones and Odom each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy and three years in prison on each count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return. The defendants also face a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.
An indictment or information merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Martin commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation who conducted the investigation, and Assistant Chief Todd Ellinwood and Trial Attorney Kavitha Bondada of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.