North Carolina women plead guilty to conspiracy


WASHINGTON, D.C. (KBSI) – Two North Carolina women pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud the United States by preparing false tax returns for clients and causing them to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately 2009 through 2018, Betty Hawkins, 51, and Phyllis Ricks, 63, both of Rocky Mount, conspired with others to file false tax returns for clients of the tax preparation businesses where they both worked. These returns included fictitious federal income tax withholding figures as well as other fraudulent items that generated fraudulent refunds the clients were not entitled to receive.

Hawkins, Ricks, and their co-conspirators caused more than 1,000 false tax returns to be filed with the IRS, which totaled approximately $5 million in fraudulent refunds.

Hawkins and Ricks are scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 16.

Both women face a maximum penalty of five years in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States.

They also face a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Michael F. Easley for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

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