McComb tax preparer sentenced to federal prison

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, March 14, 2023

A McComb woman has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for preparing false tax returns.

Elizabeth Stephens, 41, worked at a tax return preparation business in McComb. From 2014 to 2017, Stephens prepared false tax returns for clients that included one or more false items, including false W-2 information and Schedule C Profit or Loss business forms. These false expenses and altered W-2s reduced taxable income and maximized the Earned Income Credit, increasing the total refund amount.

Stephens was indicted by federal grand jury on April 5, 2022. She pleaded guilty Oct. 12, 2022.

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In addition to prison time, she must pay $58,668 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

“The sentence is an example of the consequences people face when they prepare and file false returns,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Assistant Special Agent in Charge Lisa Fontanette. “As a tax preparer, Elizabeth Stephens failed to follow the ethic responsibilities of her profession.”

The owner of the tax return preparation business, Shameka Wells, was sentenced in July 2021 to 13 months in federal prison for filing a false tax return.