Albany tax preparer arrested - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany tax preparer arrested

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany tax preparer is accused of tax fraud. She's charged with 22 counts of computer theft and theft by taking. Investigators say she filed false returns for nearly a dozen people, getting them a bigger return than they were due, so that she would get more business. Now, the victims must pay back the state.

44 year old Betty Johnson was arrested Monday and charged with 11 counts of computer theft and 11 counts of criminal attempt to commit theft by taking, after an indictment by the Dougherty Grand Jury on a case from the Georgia Attorney General's office.

Johnson worked from this home on Antioch Road using the business name Direct Effect. Investigators say in 2006 she defrauded the state by falsifying tax returns, claiming bigger refunds.

Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards said "False information was placed into the income tax returns, and that these persons were receiving larger returns."

The Attorney General's office says none of the people filing the tax returns were part of the scheme. In fact, Investigators list them as victims used by Johnson to get more business.

 Edwards said "The allegation is that the defendant made money by being the go to person to get a return."

Wallace said "I talked with several of the persons listed in the indictment as victims, and none wanted to talk on camera. But all said they had been audited, and all were having to pay back the state."

Edwards warns you to choose a tax preparer carefully, and double check what they put on your tax return, because you are the one responsible.

Edwards said "If you have any suspicion that your tax preparer is engaged in this type of conduct, contact the Attorney General."

Investigators say they looked through hundreds of returns prepared by Johnson in this case. If convicted, she could face 15 years in prison for each of the 11 computer theft charges.

There was a note on the door of the Antioch Road home that said Direct Effect tax preparer was working out of a different home. Our messages left on the business answering machine were not returned. Johnson was released on $10,000 bond.

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