Metro-East News

Tax preparer sentenced for preparing $769,000 worth of false tax returns

An East St. Louis tax preparer faced up to 87 years in prison for preparing false federal tax returns in 2015, but a judge sentenced her to only 18 months in prison Wednesday.

An undercover Internal Revenue Service agent discovered Evelyn Johnson was preparing false tax returns in 2015, according to a press release from the Department of Justice. Johnson, 56, was operating the E.J. Johnson Tax Service in East St. Louis at the time, which offered a “refund guarantee” to customers.

The agent went to Johnson to have their taxes prepared after the IRS detected a potential pattern of fraudulent returns. Johnson prepared a false return for the agent that falsified itemized deductions.

The IRS estimated the U.S. lost more than $769,000 from Johnson’s tax fraud.

Following her release from prison Johnson will serve one year of supervised release. Based on her 29 charges, she could have been sentenced to a maximum of 87 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to one year supervised release.

Johnson pleaded guilty to all 29 counts of preparing and submitting false federal tax returns in May 2017.

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6