Durham County

Why a Durham tax preparer is going to prison

A tax return preparer from Durham was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison on Tuesday for helping file false tax returns.

Laurean S. Robinson, who worked for Tax Breaks, a tax preparation business in Durham, pleaded guilty to the charges April 3, 2017. But it took almost a year for U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder to impose the sentence. She was ordered to repay $120,980 in restitution and also will have a year supervised probation upon release, according to a news release.

Robinson admitted that she prepared false returns for her clients who fraudulently claimed the earned income tax credit and sought inflated refunds. From 2012-14, Robinson falsely reported her clients earned income providing household services such as babysitting and caretaking. She trained other Tax Breaks employees to prepare false returns in a similar fashion.

In addition to fees charged by Tax Breaks, Robinson also often required her clients to pay her an additional fee in cash. Robinson’s conduct caused a tax loss of approximately $600,737, according to court records.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews