Durant woman sentenced to 5 years in prison for filing false tax returns


A former resident of Durant was sentenced Wednesday to 60 months in prison for preparing and filing a fraudulent claim for a tax refund with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst of the Southern District of Mississippi.

“Dishonest tax return preparers cause serious financial harm to our country,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman. “The Tax Division and its partners in the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Internal Revenue Service are committed to the prosecution of those return preparers, who choose to commit fraud.”

“By lying and cheating our tax system, this defendant stuck her hand in every American’s pocketbook and stole money that should have gone to our families, our communities and our kids’ futures,” said U.S. Attorney Hurst. “Those who put their greed above their duty and obligation to prepare and file returns on behalf of others will experience swift and certain justice in this district. I commend our prosecutors, DOJ trial attorneys, and IRS special agents for quickly bringing this tax cheat to justice.”

“Teresa Chism was part of a significant tax fraud scheme. Mo’ Money franchise tax return preparers defrauded American taxpayers by soliciting the issuance of undeserved tax refunds,” said Special Agent in Charge, Thomas J. Holloman III, IRS Criminal Investigation. “It is a great day for every taxpaying citizen when a participant in their criminal scheme is held accountable. With the recent conclusion of tax filing season, others who have attempted similar thefts from the US Treasury should be aware that the special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation will continue the aggressive pursuit of those individuals who attempt to defraud America’s tax system.”

According to documents and information provided to the court, from 2005 through 2015, Teresa C. Chism operated tax return preparation businesses in Mississippi under the names Mo’ Money, MoneyCo USA, and Lady T Taxes. Chism falsified her clients’ returns in different ways in order to increase their tax refunds, including reporting false wages, self-employment income and expenses, and education credits. In total, Chism prepared more than 550 false income tax returns, seeking over $3.5 million in fraudulent tax refunds.

In addition to the term of prison imposed, U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate ordered Chism to serve three years of supervised release and pay $135,134 in restitution to the IRS.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Hurst commended special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorney William Montague of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Helen Wall of the Southern District of Mississippi, who prosecuted the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

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