Dad, daughter sentenced over false tax returns that cost IRS $75K

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Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 10:24 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A Richmond County tax preparer and his daughter have been sentenced for filing fraudulently inflated tax returns on behalf of clients, according to federal prosecutors.

Ezra Hatcher Sr., 67, of Hephzibah, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $69,682 in restitution after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, said David H. Estes, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

Hatcher’s daughter, Sherry Hatcher, 42, of Augusta, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $4,141 in restitution after pleading guilty to aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return.

Each defendant is permanently prohibited from preparing or filing federal tax returns for anyone other than themselves.

An IRS investigation determined that from 2014 to 2018, Ezra Hatcher’s tax services filed 21 tax returns containing fraudulent information on behalf of seven clients. The returns included false information relating to Schedule C expenses, income and earned income credits, causing the IRS to issue excess refunds amounting to nearly $75,000.

Ezra Hatcher previously served a federal prison sentence for preparing false income tax returns after pleading guilty in 1998.

“Family-run small businesses are the backbone of American free enterprise, and the Hatchers could have established themselves as honorable participants in the tax preparation business,” Estes said. “Instead, serial scam artist Ezra Hatcher made a business of defrauding taxpayers, and he and his daughter are being held accountable for their crimes.”