Two North Carolina women sentenced to prison, supervised release and more than $5 million in restitution for tax conspiracy

Published 7:06 pm Sunday, January 22, 2023

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Two North Carolina women were sentenced to prison earlier this month for preparing false tax returns for clients and causing them to be filed with the IRS, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately 2009 through 2018, Betty Hawkins, 51, and Phyllis Ricks, 63, both of Rocky Mount, conspired with others to file false tax returns for clients of the tax preparation businesses where they worked. The returns included fictitious federal income tax withholding figures as well as other fraudulent items that generated fraudulent refunds for the clients, stated the release.

“In total, Hawkins, Ricks and their co-conspirators caused more than 1,000 false tax returns to be filed with the IRS that claimed a total of approximately $5 million in fraudulent refunds,” the release continued.

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Ricks was sentenced on January 5, 2023 to three years in prison and Hawkins was sentenced on January 4, 2023 to two years in prison. In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle ordered both women to serve three years of supervised release and to pay approximately $5.2 million in restitution to the United States.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Michael F. Easley for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case and trial attorney Mary Frances Richardson of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Menzer prosecuted the case.