A 44-year-old Lawrence woman who works at the IRS Service Center in Andover was charged Tuesday with filing more than 500 false tax returns for herself and others, according to federal prosecutors.
Jennifer Beth True was charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, and she was expected to make an initial appearance in federal court in Boston on Tuesday, according to the US Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts. If convicted, she could face more than 20 years in prison and a six-figure fine, authorities said.
Prosecutors alleged that she electronically filed more than 590 tax returns for herself and other taxpayers during a five-year period ending in 2017, which violated IRS rules that prohibits employees from “Engaging in the preparation of tax returns for compensation, gift, or favor.”
Officials said she allegedly received between $40 and $100 per return that she prepared, and prepared the vast majority of the tax returns for on her personal computer using TaxAct software.
During a six year period that ended in 2018, True allegedly prepared at least 70 forms for individual 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, according to federal authorities. Prosecutors alleged that some of the returns included fake child and dependent care and she allegedly amended one taxpayer’s income returns for three prior years in order to claim false deductions.
Multiple taxpayers who benefited from the scheme told officials they had not provided True with fake information and claimed they did not know that she was including such information on the returns she prepared, according to the attorney’s office.
Lastly, in 2015, prosecutors allege True electronically filed an IRS form for herself.
“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,” said the attorney’s office in a statement. “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.”
Federal authorities said True has been employed by the Internal Revenue Service for more than 22 years, and in her current role as a lead contact representative, she helps other IRS workers to deal with complex taxpayer inquiries.
During her career at the IRS, she has been trained in tax law, ethics, information protection and disclosure, privacy, identity theft and identity protection, according to the attorney’s office.