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Odessa woman who operated tax preparation service pleads guilty to $7.9M in tax fraud

Rita Sanchez prepared false forms for her clients, inflating and fabricating items to their tax returns.

ODESSA, Texas — An Odessa woman has plead guilty in federal court to $7.9 million in tax fraud.

Rita Elia Sanchez, 45, owned and operated an income tax preparation business called "Rita's Tax Service" from her own home.

According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Sanchez "willfully and knowingly helped prepare false Forms 1040" for clients between 2016 and 2018.

Sanchez was accused of inflating and even completely fabricating items on the tax returns of her clients. Many of these were done without their knowledge.

To help get away with this, the DOJ says Sanchez rarely reviewed tax returns with her clients to avoid them spotting the fake items.

Sanchez plead guilty to two counts of aiding and assisting in the preparations and presentation of a false tax return.

While a sentencing date has not been set, she faces a max of three years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines per count. She must also pay over $7.9 million to the IRS in restitution as part of her plea deal.

Sanchez will also be prohibited from preparing or filing federal tax returns for anyone besides herself.

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