Odessa Woman Pleads Guilty to $7.9 Million in Tax Fraud
ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -Rita Elia Sanchez, 45, pleaded guilty Dec. 8, to two counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of a false tax return. Sanchez will also have to pay just under 8 million dollars in restitution.
According to court documents Sanchez owned and operated an income tax preparation business, Rita’s Tax Service, from her home. Between 2016 and 2018, Sanchez willfully and knowingly helped prepare false Forms 1040 on behalf of her clients.
Sanchez portrayed herself as a knowledgeable and experienced return preparer, leading her clients to believe that she knew how to maximize their deductions and tax refunds. However, Sanchez inflated and, in some cases, completely made up items on her clients’ income tax returns—often without their knowledge.
Sanchez rarely reviewed her clients’ income tax returns with them, beyond the amount they were to receive. This calculated oversight prevented her clients from identifying false items on their tax returns.
A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Sanchez faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. As part of her plea agreement, Sanchez agreed to pay the IRS $7,953,546.81 in restitution. Additionally, Sanchez is prohibited by law from preparing or filing federal tax returns for anyone other than herself.
A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
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