KC tax preparer sentenced for $238k fraud scheme

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On Thursday, a Kansas City tax preparer was sentenced in federal court for a wire fraud scheme in which she filed dozens of fraudulent tax returns that resulted in more than $238,000 in refunds being issued to individuals who were not entitled to receive them.

Onrea Knox-Lewis, 45, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to one year and one day in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Knox-Lewis to pay $238,666 in restitution to the government.

On Sept. 26, 2018, Knox-Lewis pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Knox-Lewis, a self-employed tax return preparer, admitted that she filed income tax returns for the tax years 2012 through 2014 claiming false refunds. The fraudulent tax returns reported bogus wages, income tax withholdings and/or fraudulent dependents, as well as the Earned Income Credit. In some instances, Knox-Lewis prepared and filed tax returns using stolen personal identification information.

After she filed the fraudulent tax returns over the internet, Knox-Lewis had the bogus refunds loaded onto prepaid debit cards. She utilized all, or in some cases only a portion, of the funds for her own personal expenses.

According to court documents, Knox-Lewis’s criminal conduct involved the fraudulent tax returns for three tax years (2012, 2013, and 2014) for 25 separate individuals. Her scheme resulted in $238,666 in refunds being issued to individuals who were not entitled to receive them.

In addition to this fraud scheme, according to court documents, Knox-Lewis has an extensive history of fraudulent activity, including forgery and identity theft.

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