photo source: GAO file photo
The Center Square [By Vivian Jones]-
The U.S. Department of Justice announced federal charges Monday against three Memphis tax preparers for allegedly defrauding the federal government of $1.1 million in COVID-19 relief funds.
According to the complaint, Brandy Scaife, Janisha Jones and Sharika Carpenter filed 401 fraudulent applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans with the U.S. Small Business Administration between April and June. The applications allegedly were submitted using false information and netted about $1.1 million in fraudulently obtained funds.
The trio is charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the U.S., U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said. The three defendants are employees of Better Days Tax Service in Memphis. If convicted, each defendant could face up to 30 years in federal prison.
“Our office is absolutely committed to bringing to justice those who would seek to take unfair advantage of critical government resources through fraud during this challenging and uncertain time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dunavant said. “I commend the outstanding investigation by our federal law enforcement partners in this brazen and disturbing case.”
Charges were brought after an investigation by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.