Watauga County Tax Preparer Jailed for State Tax Charges

Date: 10/4/2004

RALEIGH -- A Watauga County tax preparer was sentenced to an active prison term Monday in Wake County Superior Court on felony tax charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Barry Halpert, 61, of 138 Valley View Road, Banner Elk, pleaded guilty on Sept. 3, 2004 to 17 counts of aiding or assisting in the preparation of fraudulent North Carolina individual income tax returns. His judgment on the charges was postponed until today.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Abraham P. Jones sentenced Halpert to two consecutive 20-month minimum, 24-month maximum prison terms. Halpert was remanded to the custody of the Department of Corrections.

The state’s evidence showed that Halpert, doing business as The Tax Specialists, willfully aided or assisted in the preparation of 17 fraudulent federal and state income tax returns. Halpert overstated the itemized deductions listed on his clients’ income tax returns to reduce both their federal and state taxable incomes. The deductions were inflated without the knowledge or consent of his clients.

The charges against Halpert resulted from an investigation by tax auditors in the Department of Revenue’s Examinations Division and a special agent with the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

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