Logan County tax return preparers charged with preparing false tax returns


Two Logan County tax preparers appeared in United States District Court this morning, before Magistrate Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl, charged with conspiring to defraud the United States through preparing false tax returns and aiding in the preparation of the false returns, announced United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.

Defendants Tara L. Mitchell and Mechelle Blankenship were charged last week in a 21 count grand jury indictment that was unsealed Monday, March 21, 2016. According to the charges, the defendants worked together at Triple J Tax, a tax return preparation office located in Russellville, Kentucky. Mitchell managed the office and in 2012, hired and trained defendant Blankenship to prepare tax returns.

Between March 2012, and November 2014, the defendants allegedly prepared electronically filed U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, on behalf of themselves and clients of Triple J Tax, which stated that the taxpayers had incurred educational expenses, when they had not, and thus falsely claimed education-related credit, to which the taxpayers were not entitled.

Further, the defendants are separately charged, in counts 2-21, with aiding in the preparation of false returns.

If convicted at trial, Blankenship could be sentenced to up to 41 years in prison, fined $1,450,000 and required to serve a 3 year period of supervised release. Mitchell could be sentenced up to 29 years in prison, fined $1,050,000 and required to serve a 3 year period of supervised release.

Assistant United States Attorney Amanda E. Gregory is prosecuting the case. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal

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