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South Carolina tax preparer pleads guilty to tax fraud

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A South Carolina return preparer and regional manager of multiple tax preparation business locations based in Columbia pleaded guilty on Wednesday, May 24, to conspiracy to defraud the United States by preparing and filing false tax returns.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Georgina Gonzalez, formerly of Miami, Fla., worked as a tax return preparer since at least 2013.

For the 2016 and 2017 tax filing seasons, Gonzalez temporarily relocated from Florida to South Carolina to prepare tax returns and manage multiple locations of a tax preparation business in Columbia, according to court documents. At these offices, Gonzalez conspired with others to inflate client refunds by preparing returns that falsely claimed, among other things, business losses, household help income, and American Opportunity and education tax credits.

Gonzalez and her co-conspirators charged clients up to $999 for preparing each return. In total, Gonzalez caused a tax loss to the IRS of more than $420,000, according to reports.

Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, as well as a period of supervised release, restitution, and other monetary penalties. U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs for the District of South Carolina made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Trial Attorneys Ashley Stein, Francesca Bartolomey, and Jessica Kraft of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Winston Holliday of the District of South Carolina are prosecuting the case.

Christina Lee Knauss is a contributing writer for SC Biz News.

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