Three former employees of the tax preparer Jackson Hewitt have been sentenced to more than one year in prison for submitting false tax returns.
Forty-year-old Dennis Lee Best of New Bern was sentenced to 41 months in prison. Forty-one-year-old Karen Renay Raynor of Vanceboro was sentenced to 24 months in prison. And 40-year-old Linda Davis Sutton of Vanceboro was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison.
Prosecutors say that in 2003 the three employees used fake employment information to submit false tax returns requesting
refunds in excess of $150,000.
U.S. Attorney George Holding says the case sends a message that dishonest tax preparers will punished.
The government said in April that it was targeting more than 125 Jackson Hewitt tax preparation stores in four states, including North Carolina, for systematic "tax-fraud schemes."
Jackson Hewitt is the nation's second-largest tax preparer after H&R Block.