STATESBORO, GA: A tax preparer has been sentenced to probation after she admitted preparing fraudulent federal income tax returns that resulted in illegally excessive refunds for multiple clients.
Shawree A. Hagins, 59, of Millen, Ga., was sentenced to three years’ probation by U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker after pleading guilty to Fraud and False Statements Related to Tax Filings, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Hagins also was ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution.
“Tax preparers have a responsibility to legally and accurately prepare tax returns on behalf of their clients,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “Shawree Hagins instead scammed all American taxpayers to enrich herself by illegally inflating the amount of tax refunds due to her clients, and will pay the price for that fraud.”
As described in court documents and testimony, Hagins prepared at least 36 tax returns on behalf of 12 clients, fraudulently claiming deductions in excess of the amount to which the taxpayers were entitled. The fraudulent claims resulted in a loss of $75,000 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
“Unscrupulous return preparers truly undermine the American tax system and the trust of taxpayers relying on their expertise” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey. “Don’t just look at the refund or the amount you owe, always ask questions and review your entire tax return with your return preparer. As we approach tax filing season, those who might consider preparing false tax returns should be aware there will be consequences as evidenced today.”
“Hagins showed a complete disrespect for the law with her flagrant actions and abused her position of trust for her own personal greed,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Let this sentencing be a warning with tax season approaching, that claiming money that doesn’t belong to you at the expense of every American taxpayer will not be allowed.”
The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigations and the FBI, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara M. Lyons.