View more about this story at http://www.ketv.com/article/nebraska-tax-preparers-face-charges-for-dozens-of-fake-returns/8641032
OMAHA, Neb. —
Two tax preparers in Omaha have warrants out for their arrests.
This week, the Douglas County Attorney’s Office filed charges against Ramel Thompson and Jamie Sanders for aiding in the preparation of a false tax return. Prosecutors tell KETV NewsWatch 7 it’s the first time they’ve filed under this particular state statute.
“If there’s fraud involved, you’re going to get prosecuted,” said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine.
He calls the actions white collar crime.
If there’s fraud involved, you’re going to get prosecuted
In an affidavit, Department of Revenue investigator Marc Ford said Thompson filed 94 false tax returns from 2012 to 2014, costing the state nearly $104,000.
“These aren’t people who are just not paying their taxes,” Kleine explained. “These are people who are getting refunds they aren’t entitled to because of phony W-2 forms or phony deductions showing more than they should get.”
Authorities claim Sanders was forging W-2 forms — filing returns of individuals who never worked for the employer listed, didn’t work for that employer during a given tax year, or altering income — from 2012 to 2015.
Investigators with the Department of Revenue contacted people who Sanders filed taxes for, and they stated her actions were done without their knowledge or consent, according to court records.
Kleine notes the investigation is ongoing.
“That tax preparer might prepare and file the return but it’s ultimately Joe Smith whose name is on the dotted line,” said Nebraska Tax Commissioner Tony Fulton. “So if there’s a bad actor out there who files a fraudulent return in your name, you’re responsible for it.”
Anyone can file your taxes for you — no license required. But Fulton recommends looking for a certified public accountant or a person with a law license. the Internal Revenue Service also warns you should never sign a blank return.
You’re responsible for it.
Click here for more recommendations from the IRS
Fulton has some practical advice if a preparer promises a big payout.
“If it’s too good to be true, usually it is,” the tax man said.