(STL.News) – U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that a Portland woman has been charged with preparing more than 1,000 false and fraudulent federal income tax returns requesting over $3 million in fraudulent refunds.
A federal grand jury has returned a 25-count indictment charging Elizabeth Munoz, 36, a resident of southeast Portland, with filing false tax returns on behalf of herself and her clients.
“Falsifying tax returns to get fraudulent refunds harms every American because it takes revenue from federal programs that benefit the public,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Every taxpayer must file accurate returns with the IRS and pay all taxes required by law. Those who fail to do so will face significant consequences, including criminal prosecution, prison, and monetary penalties.”
“Unscrupulous return preparers create unforeseen hardships for their clients that include unexpected tax debt along with penalties and interest,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Justin Campbell. “IRS-CI devotes considerable resources to ensuring all return preparers follow the law and act in good faith on behalf of their clients.”
According to court documents, from 2015 through 2018, Munoz operated a tax return preparation business that promised her clients the “biggest refund guaranteed.” Munoz allegedly prepared 1,196 false tax returns for 629 clients. She manipulated various entries on their returns to falsely claim tax credits for which her clients were not eligible.
Munoz will make her first appearance in federal court on August 27, 2020. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of three years in federal prison, three years supervised release, and $6.2 million in fines.
An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by IRS-CI and prosecuted by Seth D. Uram, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.