Richmond County Man Pleads Guilty To State Tax Charges

Date: 4/12/2004

RALEIGH – A Richmond County tax preparer pleaded guilty Monday in Wake County District Court to felony tax charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Roger Harris, 53, of 131 Salem Drive, Rockingham, pleaded guilty to eight counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent North Carolina individual income tax returns.

Wake County District Court Judge Paul Gessner sentenced Harris to a six-month minimum, eight- month maximum prison term. The sentence was suspended and Harris was ordered to serve a one-day active sentence in the Wake County jail. Following his incarceration, he will be placed on supervised probation for 36 months. He was also ordered to pay a $1,000 criminal fine and not aid, assist or advise in the preparation of any tax return other than his own while on probation.

The state’s evidence showed that Harris prepared eight original and amended state income tax returns for clients that reported false business losses. These losses were claimed for businesses that did not exist and reduced the taxable income reported on the returns. As a result, the clients received refunds that were greater than they were lawfully entitled to receive. Though Harris was charged with only eight counts, Department or Revenue records indicate that since June 2003, he has prepared over 300 similar returns containing questionable business losses. Harris admitted to preparing the false returns and stated that he felt sorry for his clients and wanted to help them get more money back from the government. Harris charged $110 for each return he amended and received over $30,000 for his services.

The charges against Harris resulted from an investigation by auditors with the Department of Revenue’s Discovery and Special Projects Unit and a special agent with the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

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