(STL.News) – An Atlantic County, New Jersey, tax preparer was arrested today for allegedly using false information to increase her clients’ tax refunds and filing her own false tax returns, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Michele Griffin, 40, of Galloway, New Jersey, is charged by indictment with 19 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and filing of false tax returns. Griffin is also charged with three counts of filing her own false tax returns. Griffin will be arraigned today by video conference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider.
According to the indictment:
Griffin allegedly prepared multiple fraudulent tax returns on behalf of her clients by falsifying their education expenses, dependent care expenses, business income, dependent information, and unemployment income. As a result, her clients’ returns requested higher tax credits and higher refunds than the clients were entitled to receive. Griffin received substantial income by preparing tax returns for others that she failed to report on her own tax returns. Griffin also included false education expenses on her own tax returns, which led her to request higher education credits and a higher refund than she was entitled to receive.
Griffin allegedly prepared 19 false tax returns on behalf of six clients for tax years 2013 through 2016 and filed three false tax returns for herself for tax years 2013 through 2015.
Each count carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Bender of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden.
The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.