Florence women plead guilty to tax fraud while operating a tax preparer business

Crime

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Two Florence women have pleaded guilty in federal court on tax fraud charges.

According to United States Attorney Sherri Lydon, Donna Faye Shird, 41, and Felicia Renee Shird, 42, both of Florence, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to aid in the preparation and filing of false federal income tax returns.

According to a press release from Lydon, the evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing showed that Donna and Felicia Shird operated a business known as Donna’s Income Tax Service. From 2012 to 2017 the pair 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 the Shirds would create returns that falsely claimed deductions, credits, exemptions, and other tax benefits that the taxpayers were not entitled to. These claims included; child and dependent care credits, business profits and losses, education credits, residential energy credits, and earned income credits.

This resulted in customers receiving fraudulently inflated tax refunds, according to Lydon, and caused more customers to flock to the Shirds business on their reputation for producing such large refunds.

The illegal operations of Donna’s Income Tax Service, and the fraudulent conduct by Donna and Felicia Shird, resulted in a significant loss of tax revenue for the United States Government, says Lydon.

Donna and Felicia Shird may face a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.00.

The case was investigated by agents of the Internal Revenue Service. 

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