Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to State Tax Charges

Date: 2/6/2003

RALEIGH -- A Halifax County man pleaded guilty Wednesday in Wake County District Court to felony charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Wilbert Lee Roberson, 55, of 305 Bond St., Enfield, pleaded guilty to 12 felony counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent North Carolina individual income tax returns.

District Court Judge Robert B. Rader sentenced Roberson to a 24-month minimum, 30-month maximum prison term. The sentence was suspended and Roberson was placed on supervised probation for 36 months. In addition, he was ordered to serve a 12-day active sentence as a special condition of his probation. Roberson was further ordered to pay a $4,000 criminal fine and to perform 150 hours of community service. He must also file his personal federal and State individual income tax returns for tax years 1996 through 2001 during the first 60 days of his probation. Roberson was barred from preparing or filing tax returns for anyone else while on probation.

The State's evidence showed that Roberson prepared fraudulent income tax returns for his clients for the tax years 1996 through 2001 from his business, Roberson Income Tax Service, located at 105 N. McDaniel St., Enfield. Roberson consistently overstated itemized deductions as listed on his client's federal returns, which reduced their taxable income and allowed them to receive larger income tax refunds than they were legally entitled. Monetary harm to the State could exceed $1 million dollars in addition to the cost of auditing and adjusting all the returns prepared by Roberson since 1996, which could total more than 1,300.

The charges against Roberson resulted from an investigation by a special agent with the Department of Revenue's Criminal Investigations Division in Raleigh.

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