35-year-old Tiffiny Coleman of Detroit recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to present false claims to a U.S. agency according to news reports at Mlive.com. Coleman, a tax preparer, allegedly included fake W-2 forms with the federal filings of taxpayers who were oblivious to her actions, including Henry Ford Health System, two Detroit casinos, and the Detroit Medical Center. Coleman is accused of adding fake forms to about 100 returns in 2010.
In all, Coleman filed W-2 forms that claimed more than $650,000 in tax returns. Coleman pleaded guilty of taking the proceeds from the inflated returns she filed, some for businesses that did not even exist during the year for which she was filing, 2009. The IRS claims that Coleman was paid over $480,000 which was deposited into accounts at four different banks she controlled.
In exchange for her guilty plea, Coleman will face a maximum sentence of up to two years and six months in prison. She will also be fined up to $250,000, and pay restitution. Coleman is scheduled to be sentenced on October 7.
Tax fraud is a serious crime; any time an individual is dealing with the IRS, creating fake documents will leave the accused facing serious criminal penalties if found guilty. While it is intimidating for most people to be accused of any wrongdoing by the IRS, and even frightening, it is important to have a capable and aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney on your side.
The most common tax crime is tax evasion, whereby an individual avoids paying taxes he or she owes. However, there are crimes, most of them felonies, which involve submitting false information or fake documents, such as in the case above. Those who are found guilty will face prison time of up to six years, substantial fines, even seizure of property or asset forfeiture in some cases.
Regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty, it is imperative to consult an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer who practices in the areas of fraud and embezzlement. Your legal rights must be protected; your attorney will work to reach the best possible outcome.