Jennifer Beth True, 44, of Lawrence, was charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
True made her initial appearance today in federal court in Boston.
According to charging documents, True has been employed by the Internal Revenue Service for over 22 years. In her current position as a Lead Contact Representative, she assists team members in responding to difficult and complex taxpayer inquiries. Throughout her employment, True has been trained in tax law, ethics, information protection and disclosure, privacy, identity theft and identity protection.
It is alleged that True electronically filed over 590 tax returns for herself and other taxpayers between 2012 and 2017, in violation of IRS rules prohibiting employees from “Engaging in the preparation of tax returns for compensation, gift, or favor.” True received between $40 and $100 per return that she prepared, and prepared the vast majority of the tax returns on her personal computer using TaxAct software.
The investigation revealed that between approximately February 2012 and April 15, 2018, True prepared at least 70 IRS Forms 1040 – U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns – for taxpayers that included materially false items such as false individual retirement account deductions, false medical expenses, false and inflated unreimbursed business expenses and/or false tax preparation fees. Some returns also included false child and dependent care credits.
Additionally, True allegedly amended one taxpayer’s income tax returns for three prior years, in order to claim false deductions. Numerous taxpayers told investigators they had not provided True with the false information and that they did not know that True was including such false information on the returns she prepared.
In addition, on or about Feb. 15, 2015, True electronically filed her own personal IRS Form 1040 for the year 2014. True claimed seven dependents, including a taxpayer who was not True’s dependent and who had paid True to prepare and file her tax returns. As a result of claiming the taxpayer as a dependent, True’s tax obligation for 2014 was reduced. This taxpayer never gave True permission to claim her as a dependent.
The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The charging statute for aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory sentence of two years in prison to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed, up to one year of supervised release and a fine of up to$250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; William Kalb, Special Agent in Charge of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, New York Field; and Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina E. Barclay, of Lelling’s Public Corruption Unit, is prosecuting the case.