Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Waynesboro Woman Charged with Conspiring to Defraud the United States with False Tax Returns

Edward J. Tarver, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, announced February 9 that Charlene Hughes of Waynesboro, Georgia was indicted last week by a federal grand jury sitting in Savannah and charged with Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286. At her initial court appearance yesterday in the federal courthouse in Augusta, U.S. Magistrate Judge W. Leon Barfield stated the defendant would be released from custody once she deposited with the Court ten percent of her $10,000 bond.

The Indictment arises out of a joint investigation by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into Hughes’ alleged involvement with more than twenty-five fraudulent tax returns which falsely claimed more than $90,000 in refunds between April 2006 and August 2007. The Indictment alleges that these fraudulent tax returns contained false Form W-2 information, including false employers and wages. United States Attorney Tarver stated, “As we near the height of this year's tax filing season, those who might consider preparing false tax returns should be aware of the severe consequences of doing so. This indictment emphasizes that the IRS, the FBI and the United States Attorney's Office will aggressively pursue anyone who attempts to defraud America's tax system.”

Tarver emphasized that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten (10) years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

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