Columbus tax preparer pleads guilty for federal wire fraud and identity theft

Crime

Keven Walker, 33, owner of Walker Tax Financial Group in Columbus has pleaded guilty to one count of Wire Fraud and one count of Identity Theft, says U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia Charles Peeler.

Walker’s company was an income tax preparation business operating out of Columbus. Tiffany Gist, 46, of Columbus was a co-defendant of Walker and also entered a guilty plea for one count of Wire Fraud and one count of Identity Theft, according to the Department of Justice.

“Both defendants face up to twenty years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for Wire Fraud and a mandatory two year prison sentence for Identity Theft. They will be sentenced at a later date,” said Peeler.

According to records, Walker and Gist “e-filed tax returns with Walker Tax Financial Group. During the 2013 tax year, Internal Revenue Service agents discovered that the co-defendants filed 126 fraudulent returns, attempting to steal approximately $216,684 in refunds.”

The two defendants used a victim’s social security number to file a phony tax return, but the address and W-2 were false, according to the DOJ. “Victims signed affidavits stating they never did business with the defendants and did not authorize them to file tax returns,” said Peeler.

“Dishonest tax return preparers will be held accountable for filing fictitious returns and stealing from taxpayers,” said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “Protecting the integrity of our tax system is important, and all citizens must play by the same rules. I want to thank the IRS investigators for their good work in this case, and helping shut down these unscrupulous tax return preparers.”

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