Business owner arrested for collecting, keeping sales taxes

 

Miriam Robertson

Miriam Robertson

BATON ROUGE – A Jackson Parish business owner faces felony charges for allegedly failing to remit sales taxes to the state, the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) announced Thursday.

Miriam Robertson, of 134 Country Road in Jonesboro, is accused of keeping more than $100,000 in state sales taxes she collected on purchases at Deals & Discounts, a furniture store she operated in Jonesboro

Investigators say between 2009 and 2014, Robertson submitted sales tax returns to LDR that underreported the amount of sales tax she collected and pocketed the difference. Records show she failed to remit $105,155.20 owed to the state.

Robertson was arrested on Thursday, January 22 and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count of Criminal Penalty for Failing to Account for State Tax Monies.  She is the 39th person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

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Booking Photo – Miriam Robertson

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New Orleans woman arrested for filing false tax returns to get illegal refunds

 

Qwanda Lampeer

Qwanda Lampeer

BATON ROUGE – A New Orleans woman accused of filing false tax returns in her own name and in the names of unsuspecting strangers faces multiple felony charges for fraud.

Qwanda Lashay Dampeer, of 7520 Crestmont Road in New Orleans, is accused of receiving thousands of dollars in illegally obtained income tax refunds. She allegedly filed phony Louisiana individual income tax returns, with fake W-2 withholding forms, in her own name and in the names four other people, directing the refunds to her own bank accounts.

Owners of the businesses identified on the phony withholding forms told investigators that the people named on the returns did not work for them during those periods.

Dampeer is accused also of reporting personal i

ncome from businesses she claimed she owned, but investigators determined those businesses did not exist.

She allegedly received $4,515 in illegally obtained refunds. An additional $458 in fraudulent refunds was stopped by fraud detection methods at the Louisiana Department of Revenue before being issued.

The alleged fraud took place during the 2011, 2012 and 2013 tax years.

Dampeer was arrested on January 15, 2015, and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on seven felony counts including Computer Fraud, Theft, Attempted Theft and Injuring Public Records. She is the 38th person arrested under a joint anti-tax fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s Office.

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Booking Photo: Qwanda Dampeer – 7520 Crestmont Road, New Orleans

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Tax fraud scheme involving prison inmates results in felony arrest

 

Thelma Lee

Thelma Lee

BATON ROUGE – A New Orleans woman faces multiple felony charges for a tax fraud scheme that involved filing false state income tax returns in the names of unsuspecting people, including some prison inmates.

Thelma Jean Lee, of 5115 North Prieur Street in New Orleans, is accused of filing dozens of phony Louisiana individual income tax returns and receiving thousands of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds.

Investigators say Lee filed 38 false returns, including fake W-2 withholding forms, during the 2010 and 2011 tax years. The owners of the businesses named on those forms said the people identified as having filed the returns were not their employees during those periods.

And many of the people whose names were on the returns were in fact locked up in state and local prisons at the time.

Banking records show that Lee directed $11,266 in illegally obtained state income tax refunds to accounts in her name as a result of the alleged fraud.

She was arrested on January 14, 2015, and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on 38 felony counts including Filing or Maintaining False Public Records, Identity Theft, and Illegal Transmission of Monetary Funds.

Thelma Jean Lee is the 37th person arrested under a joint anti-tax fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

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Booking Photo: Thelma Jean Lee – 5115 North Prieur Street, New Orleans

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Baton Rouge mother and son charged with filing false tax returns

Top: Madie Langley Bottom: Darin Langley

Top: Madie Langley
Bottom: Darin Langley

BATON ROUGE – A Baton Rouge woman and her son face a total of 40 felony counts of suspected fraud in their work as tax preparers, the Louisiana Department of Revenue reported Wednesday.

Madie Langley of 6150 Lotus Street in Baton Rouge and her son Darin Langley of 260 Sharp Rd., Apt. 104 in Baton Rouge are tax preparers at Matrix Computers and Tax Services. Both were arrested for filing or maintaining false public records and computer fraud.

“The Department of Revenue is committed to combatting tax fraud. As we begin the tax season, these recent arrests emphasize the need for Louisiana taxpayers to choose carefully when selecting a tax preparer,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said. “Taxpayers should be aware that when they select someone to prepare their tax returns, they are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the information and any funds that the Department will seek to recover.”

During the investigation, interviews with clients show that tax returns submitted by the mother and son team had suspicious information, showing a false businesses and false business losses when, in fact, the client did not own a business or had not sustained a loss.

The use of business losses is a common technique among unscrupulous tax preparers who guarantee their clients larger refunds than they would receive otherwise. It is one of the practices targeted by LDR and the state Attorney General’s Office in their joint anti-tax fraud initiative that has resulted in 36arrests since it began in March 2013.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said, “Our partnership with the Department of Revenue signifies Louisiana’s commitment to combating tax fraud.  This is not a victimless crime and those who choose to prepare fraudulent tax returns will be held accountable.”

Darin Langley faces 24 counts of suspected fraud and was arrested on December 22, 2014. Madie Langley faces 16 counts of suspected fraud and was arrested on Monday, January 12, 2015.

The Department of Revenue encourages taxpayers to be selective when choosing a tax preparer. The following steps can help you protect yourself against tax-preparer fraud:

  • Try to find a preparer who will be around to answer questions after the return has been filed.
  • Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of the refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers without first reviewing your returns.
  • Review and ask questions before signing a return.
  • Ask others that you know who have used that preparer if they were satisfied with the services that they received.
  • Ask any preparer that you are considering for references.
  • Ask and verify if the preparer belongs to a professional organization that requires its members to pursue continuing education and also holds them accountable to a code of ethics.
  • Always question entries on your return that you don’t understand.
  • Never sign a blank return.
  • Insist that the preparer sign the return and provide his appropriate information on the return.
  • Insist on receiving a copy of the return before it is filed.

LDR will begin accepting 2014 Louisiana Individual Income Tax Returns on Tuesday, January 20. LDR will begin processing returns on February 3 and will start issuing refunds on February 24.

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Madie Langley Booking Photo

Darin Langley Booking Photo

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Tax preparer sentenced to prison for fraud

John Labee

John Labee

BATON ROUGE – A Slidell tax preparer who pled guilty to defrauding his clients and the State of Louisiana will spend three-and-a-half years in prison.

John Labee (Booking Photo) admitted to 6 felony counts of issuing worthless checks to the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR). East Baton Rouge Parish District Judge Bonnie Jackson sentenced him on Tuesday, September 23, to 46 months in prison at hard labor, five years of post-release supervised probation, and ordered him to pay restitution to LDR in the amount of $50,000. Failure to pay restitution will result in Labee serving an additional 14 months behind bars.

Labee was arrested in September 2011 on charges that included filing more than 500 fraudulent state individual income tax returns on behalf of clients of Innovative Professional Financial Services, a tax preparation business he operated in Slidell. The returns contained fabricated income tax withholding statements, overstated withholdings, and incorrectly reported tax deductions. In addition, Labee was charged with submitting worthless checks to the Department of Revenue for the payment of his clients’ tax debts.

A joint anti-fraud initiative between the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s Office targets a wide range of felonies including but not limited to computer fraud, mail fraud, filing or maintaining false public records and issuing worthless checks.

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Tax preparer arrested for fraudulent tax credit claims

BATON ROUGE – A Tallulah woman faces more than 30 felony counts related to a $60,000 tax fraud scheme, the Louisiana Department of Revenue reported Monday.

Investigators say Chetoria Tyler (Booking Photo), of 216 Allen Street in Tallulah, submitted fraudulent income tax returns on behalf of clients of her tax preparation business, TC Enterprises. She is the 33rd person arrested under a joint anti-tax fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Office of the Attorney GeneraChetoria Tyler - 216 Allen Street, Tallulahl.

Tyler is charged with filing 2012 and 2013 Louisiana Individual Income Tax returns containing false claims for state child care tax credits. Ten of her clients told investigators they did not have any dependents and did not provide Tyler with information claiming they did.

The phony tax credit claims resulted in $61,447 in fraudulent income tax refunds issued to Tyler’s clients. False or inflated tax credit claims are a common technique among unscrupulous tax preparers who promise clients larger tax refunds than they would receive otherwise.

In addition to the false returns filed on behalf of clients, Tyler is charged with failing to report income she earned from her tax preparation work, and with inflating the withholding data on her own state individual income tax return. The Department of Revenue’s Tax Refund Intercept Program (TRIP) blocked $1,767 in fraudulent refunds that Tyler would have received due to the inflated withholding.

Tyler was arrested on Thursday, September 11 and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on 15 counts of computer fraud, 15 counts of filing or maintaining false public records and two counts of criminal penalty for evasion of tax.

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New Orleans woman arrested for tax fraud, attempted theft

Melanie Donsereaux 3101 Rue Parc Fontaine, New Orleans

Melanie Donsereaux
3101 Rue Parc Fontaine, New Orleans

BATON ROUGE – A New Orleans woman faces felony charges connected to a fraudulent state income tax return she filed with the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR).Melanie R. Donsereaux, of 3101 Rue Parc Fontaine in New Orleans, is the 32nd person arrested under a joint anti-tax fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

Donsereaux is accused of filing a Louisiana Individual Income Tax return for the 2012 tax year that included a forged W-2 wage and tax statement. LDR intercepted a fraudulent refund in the amount of $894.00 before it was issued.

Donsereaux is a suspected member of a group of criminals using phony W-2s to get fraudulent refunds from the state.

The arrest warrant was issued for Donsereaux in October 2013 after she failed to appear for an interview with LDR investigators. She was arrested on Wednesday, August 20, and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count of attempted theft and one count of filing or maintaining false public records.

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Rayville tax preparer booked on felony fraud charges

Donald Ray Jackson - 114 Spencer Street, Rayville

Donald Ray Jackson – 114 Spencer Street, Rayville

BATON ROUGE – A Rayville man faces 18 felony counts of suspected fraud in his work as a tax preparer.

Donald Ray Jackson, of 114 Spencer Street in Rayville, is accused of filing fraudulent income tax returns containing fabricated business losses. Seven of Jackson’s clients told investigators with the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) that they did not own businesses. Two clients said they did own businesses, but that they did not sustain, or claim to have sustained, any losses.

Jackson’s alleged crimes cost Louisiana taxpayers more than $325,000 in fraudulent income tax refunds.

The fabrication of business losses is a common technique among unscrupulous tax preparers who guarantee their clients larger tax refunds than they would receive otherwise. It is one of the practices targeted by LDR and the state Attorney General’s Office in their joint anti-tax fraud initiative that has resulted in 31 arrests since it began in March 2013.

Jackson was arrested on Friday, August 15 and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on nine counts each of Computer Fraud and Filing or Maintaining False Public Records.

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Booking Photo

 

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Investigations uncover $1.4 million in tax fraud, yield multiple arrests

BATON ROUGE – Four separate investigations by the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the state Office of the Attorney General resulted in eight arrests in the month of July for felony tax fraud and uncovered more than $1.4 million in fraudulent refunds and improperly reduced tax liabilities.

“These arrests demonstrate the progress we are making in attacking fraud in Louisiana through our partnership with the Attorney General’s office,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said. “If these criminals thought of tax fraud as a low-risk, high-reward activity, they’re finding out they were wrong.”

“Tax fraud is not a victimless crime,” Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said.  “When a person cheats on their taxes, it puts the most vital services for our citizens at risk.”

Arrests

Elxzina Granger, of 311 Doc Duhon Street in Lafayette, was arrested on July 16, 2014, and charged with 13 counts each of computer fraud and filing or maintaining false public records. Granger, a tax preparer, allegedly fabricated business losses on federal and Louisiana state income tax returns for the 2012 tax year. Clients of Granger’s contacted by investigators said they did not own businesses, and had not provided her with any business-related documentation for their tax filings. Granger’s alleged crime resulted in $45,982 in fraudulent income tax refunds.

In a separate case, tax preparers working for We Care Tax Service at 3101 New Highway 51 in LaPlace are suspected of fabricating business losses for clients. Investigators determined that none of those clients owned a business. The alleged fraud in this case amounts to $1,175,541.

Five tax preparers at We Care Tax Service have been arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison:

  • Sara Daspit-Lee, of 125 Oak Ridge Drive in LaPlace, arrested on July 22 and charged with nine counts of filing or maintaining false public records and nine counts of computer fraud
  • Emile Lee III, of 125 Oak Ridge Drive in LaPlace, arrested on July 22 and charged with nine counts of filing or maintaining false public records and nine counts of computer fraud
  • Johnnae Smith, of 107 4th Street in Chalmette, arrested on July 30 and charged with 11 counts each of computer fraud and filing or maintaining false public records
  • Bridget Butler, of 2229 Feliciana Street in New Orleans, arrested on July 30 and charged with nine counts each of computer fraud and filing or maintaining false public records
  • Delecisha Amos-Allen, of 19 Rush Drive in LaPlace, arrested on July 30 and charged with five counts each of computer fraud and filing or maintaining false public records

On Friday, July 25, investigators arrested Ashley Clement, of 2316 Ormond Boulevard in Destrehan, and booked her into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. She faces felony charges of fabricating business losses on her own Louisiana individual income tax return. Clement received $2,287 in fraudulent refunds. An additional $4,397 in attempted fraudulent refunds was blocked by the Department of Revenue’s Tax Refund Intercept Program (TRIP). Clement faces one count of theft and one count of attempted theft.

And in a fourth case, Deatrice Garrison Minor, of 1516 Westminster Boulevard in Marrero, was arrested on July 30 and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on six felony counts related to tax fraud. Minor is accused of submitting fraudulent income tax returns on behalf of clients of her business, Divine Vision Boutique & Tax Service, with addresses listed in Lafayette, Gretna and Marrero. Investigators say that along with the improper returns, Minor submitted false W-2 withholding forms with inflated wages and withholding amounts. The clients told investigators that they had never been employed by the individuals and entities listed on the documents, and that they had never given Minor permission to file income tax returns on their behalf. Minor faces one count of injury to public records, one count of illegal transmission of monetary funds, one count of principal to theft, one count of theft, and two counts of attempted theft. The alleged fraud in this case amounts to $36,986 in theft and $136,324 in attempted theft.

Booking Photos

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Misuse of state childcare tax credits leads to fraud arrests

BATON ROUGE – Two Louisiana tax preparers face felony charges for filing tax returns that investigators say improperly claimed state tax credits for childcare expenses.

Gwana White, of 308 Devon Road in LaPlace, was arrested on Tuesday, June 17, and charged with computer fraud and filing or maintaining false public records.

In an unrelated case, Ericka Lewis, of 929 Starrett Street in Metairie, was arrested also on June 17, and charged with computer fraud and filing or maintaining false public records.

White worked as a tax return preparer for Quick, Fast and EZ Tax Service, LLC in LaPlace. Lewis worked for Quick EZ Taxes of Kenner, LLC.

Each is accused of preparing returns for clients containing false information on wages earned and false claims for tax credits for childcare expenses, resulting in fraudulent state individual income tax refunds.

Gwana White’s alleged fraud cost Louisiana taxpayers $13,647.

The alleged fraud in the Ericka Lewis case amounted to $12,643.


Booking Photos:

Gwana White

Ericka Lewis

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