Florence women plead guilty to federal tax fraud charges

Published: Dec. 3, 2019 at 4:44 PM EST
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – Two women in Florence have pleaded guilty to federal tax fraud charges.

According to a press release from U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon, 41-year-old Donna Faye Shird and 42-year-old Felicia Renee Shird pleaded guilty to conspiracy to aid in the preparation and filing of false federal income tax returns.

Sentencing will take place after a review of sentencing reports from the U.S. Probation Office.

According to the release, the Shirds operated Donna’s Income Tax Service, which provided tax preparation and filing services. During 2012 and 2017, the women routinely added fictitious information to the personal tax returns of customers to artificially increase the amount of tax refund the customers would receive from the IRS.

Investigators discovered that customers of Donna’s Income Tax Service provided correct tax-related information to Donna or Felicia with the expectation that they would accurately prepare and file the returns for the customers, according to the release.

The Shirds would create returns that falsely claimed deductions, credits, exemptions, and other tax benefits to which the taxpayers were not entitled, prosecutors said. Falsely-claimed items included child and dependent care credits, business profits and losses, education credits, residential energy credits, and earned income credits.

As a result, customers received fraudulently inflated tax refunds and Donna’s Income Tax Service attracted more customers based on their reputation for producing such large refunds.

Both Donna and Felicia Shird are subject to a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

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