Federal prosecutors in Toledo have filed charges against three tax preparers, alleging they prepared 63 fraudulent returns to get refunds of $259,000 for 51 people.
Prosecutors say many of the returns involved phony dependents and falsified wages to get such benefits as earned income credits.
Those indicted are Toledoans Jennifer Thomas and Martin Jamison, charged with preparing 35 false returns totaling more than $160,000, for 26 individuals for tax years 2002 through 2004. Also indicted is Malcolm Harper, also of Toledo, for 28 fraudulent returns from 2003 through 2005, totaling more than $98,000 and involving 25 people.
The refunds ranged from under $1,000 to more than $10,000 and averaged about $4,100, according to the indictments filed this week in U.S. District Court in Toledo.
Seth Uram, an assistant U.S. attorney in Toledo, said Ms. Thomas and Mr. Jamison also are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States.
A grand jury found that Mr. Jamison recruited customers and supplied names and Social Security numbers of false dependents for Ms. Thomas, who prepared the returns and filed them electronically in her apartment, Mr. Uram said.
"It was not a formal business, [such as] a storefront," he said.
The indictment alleges that Ms. Thomas charged each person up to $500 for preparing each false federal income tax return.
Last summer, two Toledo women pleaded guilty to federal charges of revising W-2 payroll forms for dozens of people to file false tax returns and obtain $173,000 in refunds. Lakeable Gibson and Shawntelle R. Morris charged $500 for the false earnings statements. The customers would use the altered documents to file false tax returns.