Two Louisiana Return Preparers Plead Guilty To Tax Fraud Conspiracy
WASHINGTON (STL.News) Two Louisiana tax preparers pleaded guilty on February 10, 2021 to conspiracy to defraud the United States, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from January through April 2015, Morgan Antoine and Jennifer Austin conspired to file false tax returns for clients of Pelicans Income Tax and Payroll Service, a tax preparation business located in Kenner and Westwego, Louisiana. Antoine and Austin prepared client returns reporting false income and withholdings in order to generate larger tax refunds. In addition to preparing false returns for her clients, Antoine also filed a fraudulent personal return that claimed a false dependent. In total, Antoine and Austin caused a tax loss of more than $550,000.
U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance scheduled sentencing for May 26, 2021. At sentencing, Antoine and Austin each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Antoine and Austin also face a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and U.S. Attorney Strasser commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Jessica Kraft and William Montague of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Carter Guice, who are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the Division’s website.