ROANOKE, Va. – The former owner of a tax preparation business who defrauded at least eight small businesses, many of whose owners spoke English in a limited capacity, was sentenced yesterday to 24 months in federal prison for wire fraud and ordered to pay $190,294 in restitution.
According to court, Lisa Tucker Dillard, 60, of Roanoke, Virginia owned and operated a bookkeeping and tax accounting business in Franklin County, and in exchange for a monthly fee, claimed to provide accounting services to small businesses, including the preparation of federal documents taxes.
Beginning in 2017, Dillard began a scheme to defraud local small business owners, many of whom spoke limited English. As part of this scheme, Dillard advised her victims that they owed a tax liability to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) but that she had established an installation agreement with the IRS for payment. Dillard then instructed her victims to make those installment payments directly to her claiming that she would then forward the money to the IRS.
In creating a sense of legitimacy, Dillard applied a fraudulent IRS logo to fake receipts that she presented to her victims to make it appear that the money had been remitted to the IRS and applied to the victims’ alleged tax liabilities. In actuality, Dillard neither filed taxes nor paid any money to the IRS on behalf of any victim. Moreover, Dillard was never approved by the IRS as an authorized tax return filer because she never obtained either a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) or an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) as required by the IRS.
U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh of the Western District of Virginia made the announcement.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration investigated the case.
Assistant US Attorney Kristin B. Johnson prosecuted the case.