COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A tax preparer based in Columbus pled guilty to submitting false tax credit claims for her clients and failing to pay personal taxes, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for Middle District Georgia.

Nadine Word, 35, pled guilty on Feb. 2 to a count of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent individual income tax returns and one count of willful failure to file return, supply information or pay tax.

Court documents show between at least 2014 and 2018, Word prepared then submitted fraudulent tax returns out of her business, Superior Taxes. The Attorney’s Office states during this time period, Word also did not file her own taxes.

According to the Attorney’s Office, Word’s most common fraudulent claim was education credits involving people who did not actually attend the school listed on the tax form. Analysis of the relevant tax returns showed 408 of 494 claims Word filed did not have supporting education records for the listed institution.

Additionally, the IRS looked at 31 individual returns to find false education credits, false earned income credits and false business expenses — these returns all included at least one false item.

The total tax loss amounts to $586,565.

U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary says fraud of this natures hurts public trust.

“Tax preparers have an ethical and legal obligation to file correct tax returns for their clients, and should—of course—be paying their own taxes,” said Attorney Leary. “This kind of fraud greatly harms the public trust; individuals in the Middle District of Georgia caught illegally gaming the system by making up false claims to reap larger refunds or pay less taxes than everybody else will be held accountable at the federal level.”

Word faces a maximum of three years in prison followed by one year of supervised release and a $100,000 fine for the first count. She faces a maximum of one year in prison followed by one year of supervised release and a $25,000 fine for the second.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 13.