Middle District of Georgia | Columbus Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges for Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns, Not Paying Personal Taxes

COLUMBUS, Georgia — A Columbus-based tax accountant pleaded guilty in federal court to filing false claims for tax credits for her clients and also to failing to pay her own personal taxes.

Nadine Word, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of assisting and assisting in the preparation and filing of false and fraudulent individual income tax returns and one count of willful failure to file a statement, provide information or taxes before the U.S. District Judge Clay land payable February 1st. Word faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison, followed by one year’s supervised release and a $100,000 fine for the first count, and a maximum sentence of one year in prison, followed by one year’s supervised release and a $25,000 fine for the second count . A conviction is not planned. There is no probation in the federal system.

“Accountants have an ethical and legal obligation to file accurate tax returns for their clients, and of course they should pay their own taxes,” said US Attorney Peter D. Leary. “This type of fraud is very detrimental to public trust; Individuals in Georgia’s Middle District who are caught illegally playing the system by making false claims of getting bigger refunds or paying less taxes than everyone else will be held accountable at the federal level.

“Nadine Word pleaded guilty to preparing and filing false tax returns and failing to file her personal tax returns. With tax season underway, citizens should be reminded that tax fraud is a criminal offense,” said James E. Dorsey, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office.

According to court documents, Word prepared and filed fraudulent tax returns from its tax prep business, Superior Taxes, between at least 2014 and 2018. These fraudulent returns resulted in higher tax refunds for Word’s customers and higher fees for Word, totaling a total loss of $586,565. Word would make fraudulent claims for income credit, education credit, and business loss. She also failed to file her own tax returns during this period.

The most common fraudulent claim Word filed was for educational loans for people who did not attend the school listed on the Form 8863 filed with the Form 1040 tax return. An analysis of tax returns claiming educational credits revealed that 408 of 494 applications submitted by Word had no supporting educational records with the documented educational institution. The incorrectly filed education credits from those 408 applications resulted in a $556,145 tax loss. In addition, the IRS evaluated 31 individual returns and found false educational credits, false income credits, and false business expenses. Each return contained at least one incorrect item. The tax loss for these 31 returns is $64,767. The total tax loss from the false education credits and the 31 individual returns, less the duplicates from the false education credits, is $586,565.

The case was investigated by the IRS.

Assistant US Attorney Amy Helmick is pursuing the case for the government.

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