NEW ORLEANS -- A mother and daughter pleaded guilty Monday to tax conspiracy for their fraudulent tax service that led to more than $1.5 million in fraudulent tax refunds.
Cathy Ross Vinnett, 46, and Lashanda Vinnett, 29, both of Destrehan, La., created River Parish Tax Professionals in 2008 for the purpose of filing fraudulent tax returns, according to court documents.
The Vinnetts filed approximately 310 tax returns leading to approximately $1.845 million in fraudulent tax refunds.
The Vinnetts used recruiters to find potential clients. The recruiters would then recommend the potential clients to collect stimulus money from the federal government through the River Parish Tax Professionals company.
The Vinnetts interviewed the potential clients and gathered their personal info, taking down their name, address and Social Security number. The Vinnetts used this info to file false tax returns that their clients had no idea about. The false tax returns falsely claimed the First-Time Homebuyer Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, as well as the listing of false dependents.
“The guilty pleas entered by Cathy and Lashanda Vinnett represent a great victory for all U.S. taxpayers,” said Gabriel Grchan of IRS Criminal Investigation. “A tax stimulus, such as the First Time Homebuyer’s Credit, is meant to strengthen the country’s economy. When these types of programs are exploited by fraud, it cannot be tolerated. "
The Vinnetts could face up to 10 years in prison and three years supervised release, restitution and a $250,000 fine.