Destrehan couple face felony charges for fraud, tax evasion

BATON ROUGE – A Destrehan tax preparer and her husband face felony counts of fraud and tax evasion, the Louisiana Department of Revenue announced Wednesday.

The charges against Ihsia (Ee-Sha) Eugene and Tedrick Eugene, of 62 Brandon Hall in Destrehan, are the result of a joint anti-fraud investigation by the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office. They are the 41st and 42nd suspects arrested since the inter-agency crackdown began two years ago in March 2013.

Investigators say that as a partner in Secure Tax Service LLC, Ihsia Eugene (Booking Photo) filed tax returns claiming fabricated business loss deductions on behalf of clients who did not own businesses, or who had not sustained any business losses. The phony deductions resulted in $62,660 in fraudulent refunds.

Eugene is accused also of underreporting the income she earned from Secure Tax Service. She reported earnings of $22,000 in 2012 when bank records demonstrate she earned $84,704.38. And in 2013, she failed to file a tax return at all on earnings of $88,296. In all, she is suspected of evading state taxes on income of $151,000. She was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Tuesday, March 10 on 11 counts of Filing or Maintaining False Public Records, 11 counts of Computer Fraud, two counts of Criminal Penalty for Evasion of Tax and one count of Failure to File.

In a related case, Tedrick Eugene (Booking Photo) is charged with evading state taxes on income of $28,386 he earned from Secure Tax Service by failing to file a tax return in 2013. He was arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Tuesday, March 10 on one count of Criminal Penalty for Evasion of Tax and one count of Failure to File.

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Tax preparer arrested on dozens of felony counts for tax fraud

 

Lisa Adams - 1617 Carriage Lane, Harvey

Lisa Adams – 1617 Carriage Lane, Harvey

BATON ROUGE – A Harvey woman faces dozens of felony charges for falsifying information on her own tax return and those of clients of her tax preparation business.

Lisa Adams, of 1617 Carriage Lane in Harvey, allegedly submitted state tax returns for clients of Omega Tax Services that contained false business losses for companies that had not sustained any losses, and in some cases for companies that did not exist.

Louisiana Department of Revenue investigators interviewed ten of Adams’ clients. Four of them were business owners who said she fabricated losses on their 2013 tax returns. And six of them said she listed business losses on their returns despite the fact that they did not own or operate businesses in 2013.

Adams is accused also of falsifying her own tax return, citing losses for a florist shop she claimed she owned in 2013. There is no evidence that business ever existed.

And Adams is charged with falsifying a mortgage interest statement to claim a tax deduction for a property in New Orleans. In that case, she received a fraudulent refund in the amount of $716.

The entire series of fraud schemes amounted to $28,458.

Adams was arrested on Wednesday, February 25 and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on 11 counts of filing or maintaining false public records, 11 counts of computer fraud, two counts of forgery and one count of theft. She is the 41st 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: Lisa Adams – 1617 Carriage Lane, Harvey, LA

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LDR to Begin Issuing Refunds the Week of March 2

BATON ROUGE – In response to the recent increase and still unfolding developments centered around fraudulent tax returns filed across the country, the Louisiana Department of Revenue announced today that the Department is taking extra precautions to verify the filings and refunds of taxpayers and will extend the date to begin issuing refunds by one week, until the week of March 2.

“Given the increase in the filing of fraudulent tax returns around the country, where criminals are stealing identities and claiming refunds in others’ names, we decided to implement additional security measures this year to ensure we detect any suspicious activity, and to protect the identities of our taxpayers,” said Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield.

The extended period will provide the Department with more time to closely review returns and to utilize its identification verification process for individual taxpayers when and if inconsistencies in returns are identified.

While identity-based tax refund fraud is still a relatively new problem for revenue departments in the 43 states where taxpayers file tax returns, the Department of Revenue is ahead of the curve. Over the past two years, LDR has prevented over $11 million in fraudulent tax refunds from going out the door. Also, through a joint anti-fraud initiative with the state Attorney General’s office, 40 people have been arrested for fraudulent activity.

“We recognize that this situation places an undeserved burden on the thousands of taxpayers who consistently do the right thing. It is unfortunate that at this time the good taxpayers will suffer for those who have chosen to be criminals,” added Barfield. “This is the very reason why the Department of Revenue must do all that we can to safeguard our taxpayers against this type of fraudulent activity.”

Taxpayers who have concerns about the security of their personal information provided to any third party tax preparation software vendor should contact that vendor immediately.  Taxpayers who have a reason to believe they may be a victim of identity theft can contact LDR’s Criminal Investigations Division on its fraud hotline at 1-866-940-7053. They can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

LDR began accepting returns on January 20, and was originally scheduled to begin issuing returns on Tuesday, February 24. To date, the Department has received 664,956 electronic returns. On average, the Department processes 1.9 million electronic returns during the tax filing season. The backlog of refund requests received is expected to take a week to complete processing. Once the Department is current, normal processing times of 21 days for electronic returns and 10 weeks for paper returns can be expected.

Taxpayers can check the status of a refund by visiting www.revenue.louisiana.gov/refund.

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LDR Discovers Attempts to File Fraudulent Income Tax Returns through TurboTax software

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue has discovered a number of attempts to file fraudulent income tax returns for the 2014 filing season. LDR has reason to believe the fraudulent filings originated from data compromised through Intuit/Turbo Tax software. To our knowledge, all information in the State’s tax computer system remains secure and has not been compromised.

To date, LDR has flagged 2,011 returns filed through TurboTax software.  LDR is taking extra precautions to verify the filings and refunds to ensure that taxpayers receive their proper refunds. The Department is using all available technology and resources to help protect and secure all taxpayer data. When inconsistencies in returns are identified, LDR will utilize its identification verification process for individual taxpayers.

“It is our responsibility to protect the personal information of taxpayers, and we do not take that responsibility lightly” said Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield. “To our knowledge, our systems at the Louisiana Department of Revenue have not been compromised, but we want to alert all taxpayers who may have been victimized and had their personal information comprised by TurboTax, so they can take the steps needed to protect themselves. “

LDR has been in contact with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other states that have identified potential problems and will work with them and any other appropriate authorities to make certain Louisiana citizens are protected and apprised of the latest developments.

LDR began accepting returns on January 20, and began processing them on February 3. LDR is scheduled to begin issuing tax refunds around February 24. Since tax refunds have not been issued at this time, LDR is in an even better position to safeguard taxpayers against fraudulent activity, including the suspicion of identity theft, through the Department’s fraud detection systems.

“We will continue to monitor this situation closely, and will work diligently to ensure we do everything possible to protect taxpayer’s information and to ensure they receive the refunds they deserve,” said Barfield.

Taxpayers who have concerns about the security of their personal information provided to TurboTax should contact them at 1-800-944-8596.

Taxpayers may verify the current status of their state income tax return by going to www.revenue.lousiania.gov.

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Virginia man jailed in Louisiana for interstate tax fraud scheme

Charles Lawrence Fisher

Charles Lawrence Fisher

BATON ROUGE – A resident of Virginia faces felony charges in Louisiana for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in state income tax refunds.

Charles Lawrence Fisher, of Palmyra, VA, is accused of submitting Louisiana individual income tax returns in the names of two unsuspecting Louisiana residents and directing the refunds to a bank account in his own name.

In one case, the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) processed the return and issued a refund in the amount of $2,123, which was deposited electronically into a checking account at a bank in Virginia.

In the second case, a refund of $2,697 was intercepted before being issued when LDR’s fraud detection protocols flagged the return as suspicious.

The subsequent investigation linked both fraudulent returns to Fisher.

Louisiana authorities transported Fisher to Baton Rouge on Friday where he was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count each of Injuring Public Records, Computer Fraud, Theft and Attempted Theft.

Fisher is the 40th 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: Charles Lawrence Fisher

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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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