Income Tax Preparer Jailed for State Tax Fraud

Date: 3/8/2004

A Charlotte woman was sentenced to an active prison sentence Monday in Wake County District Court on felony tax charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Krystal L. Steele, 32, of 5308 Kildare Drive, Charlotte, entered guilty pleas to one count of conspiracy and one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a fraudulent state income tax return.

The state’s evidence showed that Steele worked as the manager of Webtax, a tax preparation business located at 551 Morgan Mill Road, Monroe. She and two co-workers conspired to file fraudulent federal and state income tax returns for clients by creating false wage and tax statements, claiming false business losses, and inflating the itemized deductions and dependents on the returns they prepared.

Wake County District Court Judge Paul Gessner sentenced Steele to an eight-month minimum, 10-month maximum active prison term with the North Carolina Department of Corrections.

In related cases, co-defendants Melissa M. Hough, 27, of 917 Walkers Grove, Wingate and Tameka L. Williams, 25, of 5832 Reddman Road, Charlotte, pleaded guilty to similar charges last month. Hough was sentenced to a 10-month minimum, 12-month maximum active prison term. Williams received a six-month minimum, eight-month maximum prison term. Her sentence was suspended and she was placed on supervised probation for 36 months. Williams was further ordered to pay a $150 fine and to perform 24 hours of community service.

The charges against Steele, Hough and Williams resulted from an investigation by the North Carolina Department of Revenue’s Criminal Investigations Division into the filing of fraudulent income tax returns.

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