River Parishes bureau
July 28, 2012
PAULINA — Federal prosecutors in New Orleans charged a St. James Parish woman Friday with filing false personal income tax returns and helping clients file false returns over a three-year period, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Laura A. Diggs, 41, of Paulina, a tax preparer who has operated Diggs Tax Service in Luling since 2003, faces single counts of false statements on her federal tax returns and assisting in the preparation of false tax documents, prosecutors in the Eastern District of Louisiana said in a statement.
If convicted, Diggs faces up to three years in prison, up to one year of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and a $100 special assessment for each count, prosecutors said.
Diggs underreported her own business income by $766,761 between 2007 and 2009, for which $210,233 in taxes is owed, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Diggs and her employees also helped 15 clients inflate Schedule A deductions on their returns by a combined $272,956, according to the signed bill of information filed by prosecutors Friday.
The clients’ falsified returns boosted the deductions for items such as charitable contributions, home mortgage interest, unreimbursed employee expenses and hobby expenses, the bill of information says.
The inflated deductions led to substantial refunds for Diggs’ clients, prosecutors said. The inflated deductions also were taken on tax returns for 2007, 2008 or 2009.