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Newport News Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Preparing False Return

A Newport News, Virginia, tax preparer pleaded guilty today to aiding and assisting the preparation of a false tax return, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Angela C. Harper owned At Ease Tax Services, a tax preparation business that she operated from her home and hotel rooms in the Newport News area. Between 2014 and 2018, Harper falsified tax returns by claiming fraudulent credits and deductions on behalf of her clients in order to inflate the refunds paid to the clients by the IRS. Harper did not sign these returns as the paid preparer, thereby making it appear that the clients themselves had prepared the returns. She also did not provide copies of the returns to clients even when they specifically requested them.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson scheduled sentencing for Jan. 4, 2021. At sentencing, Harper faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison. She also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. 

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Terwilliger commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorney Francine Davis and Assistant Chief Michael C. Boteler of the Tax Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian J. Samuels, who are prosecuting the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the Division’s website.