Central Texas tax preparer pleads guilty to filing of false return

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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Killeen tax preparer Shermin Marshall is facing a prison sentence after pleading Tuesday guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return and aggravated identity theft, the U.S. Justice Department Tax Division Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman said.

Marshall, who admitted that his actions caused a tax loss of $397,367, faces a maximum possible sentence of three years in prison on the aiding and assisting count and a two-year mandatory sentence on the aggravated identity theft count.

He also faces a period of supervised release as well as restitution and fines.

Agents arrested Marshall late last year after an investigation that showed over a period of time he had prepared tax returns for customers, but fraudulently altered the amount due in refund, then kept the refund overage for himself and sent the balance to his client.

The investigation went as far back as the 2012 tax year and included several instances of tax returns filed in 2013, an indictment says.

Investigators said Marshall created false dependents, fraudulent tax credits and other issues that would allow Marshall to increase refunds due to clients.

The 14 separate charges originally levied against Marshall include the fraud counts, one through eight, along with additional counts of aggravated identity theft, access device fraud and wire fraud.

Marshall admitted to falsifying specific items on his clients’ returns to increase refunds and that he directed refunds to be deposited into financial accounts he controlled, stealing a portion of the money, Zuckerman said in a press release.

He also admitted that in order to receive some of the fraudulent refunds, he opened accounts in the names of his clients without their permission, Zuckerman said.