St. Ann woman pleads guilty in ‘free money’ tax scheme

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EDWARDSVILLE, IL (KTVI) – A 28-year-old St. Ann woman pleaded guilty Monday to her role in a scheme to file false tax returns in order to obtain a bigger refund from the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Stephen Wigginton said.

According to court documents, Ebonyi Blakely admitted to conspiracy to obstruct or impair the IRS in collecting income taxes and distributing tax refunds.

Prosecutors said Blakely conspired with dishonest tax preparer, identified as Tanya Nichols, who filed false returns for low-income citizens and inflated certain tax credits to increase returns. Blakely also admitted to having her own taxes prepared by Nichols.

Blakely faces to up five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release when she’s sentenced November 6.

Meanwhile, Tanya Nichols was sentenced June 12 to 57 months in federal prison.

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