Waco, TX Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud the United States

A Waco, Texas, tax return preparer pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to defraud the United States according to a DOJ Press Release.

According to the indictment and information presented at the plea hearing, Janell Lightner, assisted co-defendant Stacey Anderson in the preparation and filing of false tax returns.

Anderson operated her tax return preparation business, Anderson Professional Tax Services, out of Anderson’s residence in Waco.

Lightner and Anderson conspired to defraud the United States by preparing false 2013 and 2014 individual income tax returns, which claimed false business items and/or education tax credits in order to fraudulently increase their clients’ tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Lightner and Anderson prepared returns for clients in Texas, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Lightner has admitted to causing a tax loss of over $1.3 million.

In June 2019, Anderson also pleaded guilty to the aforementioned conspiracy charge as well as filing a false 2014 income tax return. Anderson admitted to causing a tax loss of over $10 million. Anderson’s sentencing is set for Oct. 9, 2019.

The Court scheduled Lightner’s sentencing for Dec. 5, 2019. Lightner faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge as well as a term of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

The grand jury charges

The below are the charges and alleged facts from the grand jury indictment.

COUNT ONE: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States

Defendants and others both known and unknown to the grand jury, did unlawfully, voluntarily, intentionally and knowingly combine, conspire and agree together and with each other to defraud the United States for the purpose of impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful government functions of the IRS in the ascertainment, computation, assessment, and collection of federal income taxes.

[Defendants] in order to enrich themselves and others, aided and assisted in the filing of false U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, IRS Forms 1040, which contained false and fraudulent claims for tax refunds, for taxpayers residing in the states of Texas, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

The false information [Defendants] reported on their clients’ returns included, but was not limited to, false business losses, false deductions, and false tax credits.

[Defendants] would not list themselves as the return preparers on the tax returns they prepared for clients. Instead, they reported that such returns were self-prepared.

COUNTS TWO THROUGH TEWNTY-ONE: Aiding and Assisting in the Preparation and Presentation of a False Tax Returns

On or about the dates set forth below, in the Western District of Texas and elsewhere, [Defendants] did willfully aid and assist in, and procure, counsel and advise the preparation and presentation to the IRS of U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, IRS Forms 1040,…[that]…were false and fraudulent as to material matters.

COUNT TWENTY-TWO and TWENTY-THREE: Making and Subscribing a False Tax Return

On or about January 21, 2014, in the Western District of Texas and elsewhere, the [Defendants], did willfully make and subscribe an IRS Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, for tax year 2013, which was verified by a written declaration that it was made under the penalties of perjury and which she did not believe to be true and correct as to every material matter.

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