A tax preparer who was found guilty of helping thousands of undocumented immigrants claim millions in illegal tax refunds has just been sentenced to two years. The sentence will be served in a federal prison, and will be followed by a year of supervision. The light sentence came after she pleaded guilty to the charges.
Lesley E. Anzures, 35, from Sheboygan, operated Lesley’s Tax Service. She pleaded guilty to one count of structuring a financial transaction.
The prosecution, though, claimed Anzures was more of a tax return mill. Over a period of four years, she was reportedly cranking out returns at the rate of 8 a day.
The prosecutors asked for a 3 year sentence as part of her plea deal. She was also ordered to pay $496,533 in restitution. U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper didn’t impose the 3 year sentence, though. Anzures, she said, had no criminal history.
Anzures was busted after one of her other clients went to the Sheboygan police and explained that the client’s child’s info had been used in a fraudulent tax return. The police tipped off the IRS who did an undercover sting.
The agents uncovered a history of bad behavior. As The Journal Sentinel explains, “Agents reviewed 40 tax returns Anzures had prepared for 12 clients over four years and found false claims in all of them, mostly for Additional Child Tax Credit, for children who did not exist or were not in the United States. An audit of another 22 clients’ returns found more fraud, for a total tax loss of nearly $500,000 over the tax years 2010 through 2013.”
And her sentence is still just two years. What’s worse is that the people she was lying for may not have known that they were part of the fraud.
“Even an undocumented immigrant customer fluent in English would find the tax system hard to comprehend. As such, these clients relied on her to accurately and fully tell them the relevant rules, to enable them to provide the necessary information to complete a tax return,” the Federal prosecutors wrote.
“Casting herself as selflessly helping deserving people is a portrayal lacking support from the investigation findings, which suggest instead that she acted to enrich herself,” they wrote.
“For the four years in question, Anzures filed 9,489 returns, 98% of which claimed refunds totaling $34.2 million,” The Journal Sentinel notes.
During that time, Anzures charged $75 an hour. That comes to about $150,000 a year. “By the time she was 35,” The Journal writes, “Anzures had acquired a $350,000 home, two late model Cadillacs, two rental properties and an auto business, while reporting adjusted gross incomes, with her husband, of $18,000 to $70,000.”