Two NC Tax preparers Plead Guilty to $5M Tax Conspiracy

Washington -- September 19, 2022: For Immediate Release Department of Justice Eastern North Carolina 
Two North Carolina women pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud

the United States by preparing false tax returns for clients and causing them to be filed with the IRS. In total, Hawkins, Ricks, and their co-conspirators caused more than 1,000 false tax returns to be filed with the IRS that claimed a total of approximately $5 million in fraudulent refunds.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately 2009 through 2018 Betty Hawkins, 51, and Phyllis Ricks, 63, both of Rocky Mount, conspired with others to file false tax returns for clients of the tax preparation businesses where they both worked. These returns included fictitious federal income tax withholding figures as well as other fraudulent items that generated fraudulent refunds the clients were not entitled to receive.

Hawkins and Ricks are scheduled to be sentenced on December 16, 2022. Both women face a maximum penalty of five years in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States. They also face a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge 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 Michael F. Easley for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Trial Attorneys Michael Jones and Mary Frances Richardson of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Menzer are prosecuting the case.
USAO - North Carolina, Eastern
Updated September 19, 2022

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