Gastonia Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to State Tax Violations

Date: 9/8/2004

RALEIGH -- A Gastonia tax preparer, doing business as More Than Enough Tax Services, pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony tax charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Elbert Hopkins, 53, of 1324 Morrocroft Trail, Gastonia, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of aiding or assisting in the preparation of fraudulent North Carolina individual income tax returns.

Wake County District Court Judge Kris Bailey sentenced Hopkins to two, consecutive six-month minimum, eight-month maximum prison sentences. The sentences were suspended and Hopkins was placed on supervised probation for 36 months. He was ordered to serve a two-day active sentence as a special condition of probation and was given credit for time served following his arrest. Hopkins was ordered to pay a $100 criminal fine and he must perform 100 hours of community service. Hopkins was also ordered not to assist anyone in the preparation of tax returns.

The state’s evidence showed that Hopkins willfully aided or assisted in the preparation of 12 fraudulent federal and state income tax returns. He overstated the itemized deductions listed on his clients’ income tax returns to reduce both their federal and state taxable income. Hopkins confessed during the investigation and said that Ronald McIlwain, who previously prepared returns with Overnight Tax Services, showed him how to inflate figures on returns. Ronald McIlwain is currently serving an active prison term for unrelated charges.

The charges against Hopkins resulted from an investigation by a field auditor in the Department of Revenue’s Charlotte Examinations Office and a special agent with the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

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