Former Beloit tax return preparer sentenced to 21 months tax return fraud

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- A Beloit tax return preparer was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison on Wednesday, for aiding and abetting the preparation and filing of a false income tax return.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 47-year-old Kimberly Harrison will also have one year of supervised release after serving the 21 months.

Harrison was sentenced by U.S. District Chief Judge James D. Peterson.

The court will determine the amount of restitution Harrison will be ordered to pay in 30 days.

On May 24th, Harrison pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting in the preparation and filing of a false income tax return with the IRS. Harrison had been charged in 2018 by a grand jury in Madison, with a 29-count indictment alleging that she prepared false and fraudulent income tax returns for various taxpayers from 2013 through 2016.

Harrison admitted that the government could prove that she filed tax returns from her home in Beloit using various IP addresses that came back to her, even though she failed to sign the tax returns as the paid return preparer, and instead made it look as if the taxpayers themselves were signing and filing their own tax returns.

At Wednesday's sentencing, Judge Peterson found that Harrison had prepared and filed 374 false tax returns from 2013 to 2016, which caused a tax loss of $583,298.

Judge Peterson also found that Harrison earned about $9,350 a year in fees that she charged her clients and that she did not report on her own tax returns, or to other governmental authorities who were providing her with public benefits.

Judge Peterson said, “People need to know that our tax laws will be enforced and if you cheat on your taxes, it is going to be taken seriously.”

According to the judge, Harrison’s crime was a serious offense because it involved a large tax loss to the United States government. Judge Peterson also noted there is a certain outrage to the community by Harrison’s cheating of the very government that supplies her with public benefits, and this cheating hurts other recipients who need those benefits like veterans and the disabled. In addressing Harrison, the judge told her that “claiming poverty is no excuse” because her crime was “done for pocket money, which is greed."

Judge Peterson ordered Harrison to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to begin her prison sentence on September 16th.

The charges against Harrison are the result of an investigation conducted by the Madison office of IRS Criminal Investigation. The prosecution of this case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber.