IRS worker owes $1M restitution for tax scheme

·2 min read

May 6—BOSTON — A Lawrence woman who was a longtime employee for the Internal Revenue Service was sentenced to a year in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution after she pleaded guilty to filing 70 false tax returns for herself and others.

Jennifer Beth True, 45, who previously pleaded guilty eight counts of wire fraud and identity theft, was sentenced Thursday morning in U.S. District Court in Boston by Judge Leo Sorokin.

Sorokin sentenced True to a year and a day in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, according to court documents.

The judge also ordered her to pay $1,057,471.30 in restitution to both individuals and the IRS combined.

Also, True is barred from preparing, advising, assisting or aiding in preparation of tax returns with the exception of herself and her parents, according to court documents.

True must report a designated federal prison to start serving her sentence by 2 p.m. on June 17, according to the sentence.

True, who was employed by the IRS for 22 years, was initially charged in January 2020 and accused of filing 591 false tax returns for herself and others between 2012 and 2017.

In September 2020, True pleaded guilty to filing at least 70 false tax returns, according to authorities.

True was last employed by the IRS as a lead contact representative, where she would assist team members in answering difficult inquires from taxpayers. Throughout her employment, she received training in tax law, ethics, information protection and disclosure, privacy and identity theft protection, authorities said.

According to federal authorities, True received between $40 and $100 per return. She prepared the vast majority of them on her personal computer and used TaxAct software.

The investigation further revealed that between February 2012 and April 15, 2018, True prepared at least 70 IRS Forms 1040 for taxpayers that included false individual retirement account deductions and medical expenses, inflated unreimbursed business expenses and phony tax preparation fees, according to information previously released by the Department of Justice.

Some returns included false child and dependent care credits. Additionally, True amended one taxpayer's returns for three prior years to claim false deductions, according to documents.

Numerous taxpayers told investigators they had not provided True with the false information and that they did not know that she was including it on the returns she prepared.

Besides these allegations, on or about Feb. 15, 2015, True electronically filed her own IRS Form 1040 for 2014. She claimed seven dependents, including a taxpayer who was not her dependent and who had paid True to prepare and file her tax returns, according to the DOJ.

As a result of claiming the taxpayer as a dependent, True's tax obligation for 2014 was reduced. This taxpayer never gave True permission to claim her as a dependent, authorities said.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

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