Income tax preparers are motivated by the drive to reduce their clients' tax bill by finding all deductions that can be lawfully claimed. Sometimes, this incentive becomes too powerful. A Baton Rouge woman has been arrested and is now accused of fraud because she allegedly crossed the line separating proper deductions from fraudulent deductions.
The Louisiana Department of Revenue has charged the woman with fabricating business losses for her clients, some of whom do not even own or operate a business. According to the Department, the woman's alleged actions have cost the state an estimated $120,000 in paid refunds that were based upon false deductions.
The woman was arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. She has been charged with filing or maintaining false public records and illegal transmission of monetary funds, both of which are felonies. According to public officials, the woman is the 68th person arrested as part of a joint investigation by the Department of Revenue and the Louisiana Attorney General's Office. The woman was released from custody after posting the bond set by the court.
The charges against this woman are serious, but she is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, the strength of the government's case cannot be judged from the allegations alone. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to discover weaknesses in the evidence or improper actions by the police or prosecutor's office. Anyone facing such charges may wish to consult a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney for an evaluation of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining either a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.
Source: WAFB-TV, "Baton Rouge woman facing felony charges for scheme costing taxpayers more than $120K," Rachael Thomas, Sep. 1, 2017