Tax Return Preparer Charged with Filing False Tax Returns

Maricela Hernandez has been arrested on charges of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Lucy Cruz, special agent in charge of Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

The 14-count sealed indictment was returned in Houston Nov. 12, and unsealed today upon her arrest in Laredo. She is expected to make her initial appearance tomorrow before U.S. Magistrate Judge Scott Hacker in Laredo.

According to the indictment, Hernandez filed false tax returns on behalf of her clients for tax years 2008 and 2009. Hernandez allegedly placed false first time home buyer credits on her clients’ tax returns for the 2008 tax year. For most taxpayers, the false credit resulted in an increase of $7,500 in the amount of the refund, according to the charges.

Other false entries alleged in the indictment include false education credits, false general business credits, false residential energy efficiency property credits and false Schedule A deductions for unreimbursed employee expenses, vehicle expenses, child care expenses and gambling losses, all of which resulted in exceptionally large refunds.

If convicted, she faces up to three years in federal prison on each count as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

IRS-CI investigated. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James R. Buchanan.

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