PHOENIX, Ariz. - 43-year-old Carlita Frances O' Neal was sentenced to 13 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release for filing false tax returns on Monday, April 9.
O’Neal had previously pleaded guilty to making false claims against the United States in connection with her filing of a false tax return.
O’Neal’s co-defendant, Jeannine Lynn Clark, 58, of Florence, Ariz., was also sentenced to eight months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
Clark had also previously pleaded guilty to making a false claim in connection with her filing of a false tax return.
Both women were ordered to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
Between 2011 and 2013, O’Neal and Clark prepared false tax returns for themselves and made up income and withholding information, which enabled them to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and increase the false tax refund claimed on the returns.
Clark recruited individuals into the fraudulent scheme by claiming she could get them a large tax refund using only basic information such as their name, address, social security number and date of birth.
O’Neal then used the information gathered by Clark to prepare fraudulent federal income tax returns and submit them to the IRS electronically.
To increase the amount of the false tax refund, O’Neal used fictitious wage and withholding information for the taxpayers. O’Neal received a portion of each false tax refund and paid Clark a referral fee for each individual Clark recruited.
O'Neal and Clark stopped working together but both continued preparing false tax returns on their own using the same methods.
In total, between 2011 and 2013, O’Neal and Clark prepared and filed approximately 75 fraudulent tax returns, which falsely claimed tax refunds totaling more than 300,000.