Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy Charges


In a recent development, Georgina Gonzalez, a tax return preparer and regional manager of several tax preparation businesses in Columbia, South Carolina, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States. She was accused of creating and filing fraudulent tax returns, underlining the critical need for small businesses to employ trustworthy tax preparers.

As per court documents and statements made during the proceedings, Gonzalez has been in the tax return preparation business since at least 2013. Originally from Miami, Florida, she temporarily relocated to South Carolina during the 2016 and 2017 tax filing seasons, where she managed several tax preparation offices.

The main charge against Gonzalez revolves around the creation of false tax returns that inflated client refunds. These incorrect returns included false claims of business losses, household help income, and education tax credits, including the American Opportunity tax credits. The fees charged to clients for each fraudulent return amounted to as much as $999.

Gonzalez’s fraudulent activities have caused a substantial loss to the IRS of over $420,000, a stark reminder to small business owners of the perils of unreliable tax return services.

“Small business owners need to be diligent in selecting their tax return preparers,” says a local business owner. “They should ensure that these professionals are knowledgeable and strictly adhere to all tax rules and regulations.”

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs for the District of South Carolina announced Gonzalez’s guilty plea. The case is currently under investigation by the IRS-Criminal Investigation department.

The sentencing for Gonzalez is scheduled for a later date. She faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, in addition to supervised release, restitution, and other monetary penalties. U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors when determining her sentence.

Trial Attorneys Ashley Stein, Francesca Bartolomey, and Jessica Kraft of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Winston Holliday of the District of South Carolina, are prosecuting the case.

This case serves as a vital cautionary tale for small businesses. It underscores the importance of engaging competent and trustworthy tax preparers, as both fraudulent practices and erroneous filings can lead to severe financial and legal repercussions. A reliable tax professional is not only essential for maintaining compliance with tax laws but also for ensuring the financial health of a business.

Small business owners should take heed of this case when making their choices for tax preparation and financial management services.

Image: Depositphotos

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.