St. John Tax Preparer Sentenced to Prison for Conspiracy and Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns

Published 7:48 pm Thursday, April 14, 2022

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WASHINGTON – A Louisiana woman was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States and helping clients file false tax returns.

On Nov. 14, 2019, Brittany Patterson, of St. John the Baptist Parish, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and aiding and assisting in the filing of false tax returns. According to court documents, Michegel Butler owned Crown Tax Service LLC, where Patterson worked as a tax return preparer. From approximately January 2013 through April 2013, Patterson, Butler and others conspired to inflate their clients’ refunds by preparing tax returns claiming false Schedule C businesses, dependents and dependent care expenses. To substantiate the false income and expenses reported on their tax returns, Patterson and the other co-conspirators directed clients to fill out fraudulent receipts. They also encouraged some clients to buy or sell the personal identification information of dependents that could be falsely reported on tax returns.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier ordered Patterson to serve three years of supervised release and pay approximately $90,856 in restitution to the United States.

On Feb. 4, 2021, Butler was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in the conspiracy.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Jessica Kraft of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dall Kammer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana prosecuted the case.