Smyrna resident sentenced for multi-year tax evasion scheme | USAO-NDGA

ATLANTA — Tamar Lee has been convicted of conspiring to submit false claims to the Internal Revenue Service.

“Defendants stole the personal identifying information of innocent victims, resulting in over $1 million in fraudulent refunds,” said U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “As we approach tax season, it’s important to protect personal information from thieves who use it for other schemes like the one in this case.”

“Lee and his co-conspirators have shown a flagrant disregard for the integrity of the United States tax system and have caused immeasurable hardship to innocent victims,” ​​said James E. Dorsey, Special Agent in Charge, IRS, Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office. “Let today’s sentencing be a warning to those who dare to commit identity theft and reimbursement fraud of this magnitude. They will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. IRS Criminal Investigation remains committed to prosecuting the identity theft and reimbursement fraud with our partners at the US Attorney’s Office.

According to US Attorney Erskine, the charges and other information presented to the court: Tamar Lee and her co-conspirator Don Terry obtained names and personally identifying information for individuals without their knowledge or consent. Many of the victims lived outside of Georgia, with some residing in shelters or in jail when tax returns were filed.

Lee and Terry provided the victims’ information to a now deceased co-conspirator, a local tax preparer with his own tax preparation business. The fraudulent US Personal Income Tax Form 1040 was prepared and filed electronically from the co-conspirator’s company. The tax returns included bogus W-2 forms listing employers for whom the victims did not work. They also claimed refunds based on false statements of federal income tax withholdings never remitted to the IRS.

The same tax preparer also used a refund transfer service, Refund Advantage, which allowed the co-conspirator to print refund checks at her place of business. When the IRS paid the refunds, the tax preparer printed the checks accordingly and gave them to Terry and Lee who then deposited them into bank accounts that Lee opened and checked. Lee paid the co-conspirators some of this proceeds.

Lee also used one of his existing companies to file fraudulent US Form 1120 tax returns that falsely claimed refunds based on bogus fuel tax credits. This credit allowed businesses to offset their tax payable based on certain fuel expenses incurred throughout the year. Lee’s business, however, never incurred such expenses and therefore did not qualify for the credit. The IRS then paid one of the requested refunds by depositing the funds into Lee’s bank account.

Lee, Terry and co-conspirator Jeffrey Smith were also part of a scheme to submit tax returns from fraudulent corporations that were making false claims. They provided the deceased preparer with information about other existing companies and the companies they formed for this scheme, which were used in the preparation and filing of fraudulent Form 1120 tax returns in the United States. These statements all falsely claimed refunds based on fuel tax credits to which the companies were not entitled. The IRS paid a portion of the requested refunds by sending Treasury checks to the addresses provided by Lee, Terry and Smith.

Overall, the tax evasion scheme resulted in more than $2 million in false claims over a three-and-a-half-year period. The IRS consequently issued over $1 million in refunds for fraudulently filed corporate and individual tax returns.

Tamar Lee, 53, of Smyrna, Georgia, was sentenced to four years and three months in prison, followed by three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $306,316.22. Lee was found guilty by a jury on November 4, 2021.

Also convicted for their role in the tax evasion scheme:

  • Jeffrey Smith was sentenced to three years and one month in prison, followed by three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $695,191.
  • Don Terry was sentenced to two years in prison followed by three years of probation and ordered to pay compensation of $1,332,115.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracia King and Brian Pearce prosecuted the case.

For more information, please contact the US Attorney’s Office of Public Affairs at [email protected] or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is