Awett Tedla, an Indiana woman and owner of Speedy Tax Services, L.L.C., a tax preparation business operating in Washington, D.C., and District Heights, Maryland, pleaded guilty last Friday in a federal court in the District of Columbia. She admitted to conspiring to file false tax returns and related charges between 2012 and 2016.
Court documents and in-court statements revealed that Tedla and her co-conspirators prepared and electronically filed fraudulent returns on behalf of clients and used the illegally-obtained identities of unwitting taxpayers. They claimed false refunds by reporting fictitious businesses and tax credits, generating inflated tax refunds. Clients were charged a higher fee depending on the size of the fraudulent refund.
Additionally, Tedla underreported her business’s gross receipts and taxable income on her 2016 personal income tax return, evading a total of approximately $171,534 in income tax from 2013 through 2016.
Tedla faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for wire fraud, 10 years for conspiring to file false claims, five years for tax evasion, and a mandatory two years for aggravated identity theft. She also faces supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine the final sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division announced the case. The IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) are conducting the investigation, with Trial Attorneys Mark McDonald and George Meggali of the Justice Department’s Tax Division prosecuting the case.
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