A veteran employee of the Internal Revenue Service Service Center in Andover is accused of filing more than 500 false tax returns for herself and other people.
Jennifer Beth True, 44, of Lawrence faces charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The case is being prosecuted in U.S. District Court.
True has been employed by the IRS for more than 22 years, according to documents filed with the court. In her current position as a lead contact representative, she assists team members in answering difficult inquiries from taxpayers, the documents say.
Throughout her employment, she has been trained in tax law, ethics, information protection and disclosure, privacy, identity theft and identity protection, according to the documents
True electronically filed 590 tax returns for herself and other taxpayers between 2012 and 2017, in violation of IRS rules prohibiting employees from “engaging in the preparation of tax returns for compensation, gift, or favor,” according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.
True received between $40 and $100 per return, investigators said. They said she prepared the vast majority of them on her personal computer and used TaxAct software. The investigation revealed that between February 2012 and April 15, 2018, True prepared at least 70 IRS Forms 1040 for taxpayers that included false individual retirement account deductions and medical expenses, inflated unreimbursed business expenses and phony tax preparation fees, Lelling said.
Some returns included false child and dependent care credits, he said. True also amended one taxpayer’s tax returns for three prior years to claim false deductions, he said.
Numerous taxpayers told investigators they had not provided True with the false information and that they did not know that she was including it on the returns she prepared.
Besides these allegations, on or about Feb. 15, 2015, True electronically filed her own IRS Form 1040 for 2014. She claimed seven dependents, including a taxpayer who was not her dependent and who had paid True to prepare and file her tax returns, according to the U.S. attorney.
As a result of claiming the taxpayer as a dependent, True’s tax obligation for 2014 was reduced, Lelling said. He said that his taxpayer never gave True permission to claim her as a dependent.
The charge of wire fraud carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and as much as a $250,000 fine. Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory prison term of two years in prison, to be served consecutively with any other sentence imposed; up to one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Announcing the charges against True were Lelling, William Kalb, special agent in charge of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, New York field office; and Kristina O’Connell, special agent in charge of IRS criminal investigations in Boston.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina Barclay of the Public Corruption Unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case.