Waco Tax Return Preparer Janell Lightner Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding the United States

(STL.News) – A Waco, Texas, tax return preparer was sentenced to 27 months in prison today for her role in a conspiracy to defraud the United States, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to the indictment and information provided to the court, Janell Lightner and her co-defendant Stacey Anderson conspired to defraud the United States by preparing false tax returns for clients of Anderson’s tax return preparation business, Anderson Professional Tax Services.  Anderson operated the business out of her residence in Waco, but she and Lightner prepared tax returns for clients in Texas, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.  From 2013 through 2014, Lightner assisted Anderson in preparing fraudulent returns that inflated deductions and claimed false education credits in order to increase client refunds.  Lightner’s conduct caused a tax loss of more than $1.3 million to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Alan D. Albright ordered Lightner to serve three years of supervised release and to pay restitution to the United States in the amount of $1,337,800.88.  Anderson was previously sentenced on Oct. 9, 2019, and ordered to serve 87 months in prison and to pay more than $8 million in restitution to the United States.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration, who conducted the investigation, and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Robert Kemins and David Zisserson, who prosecuted the case.  Mr. Zuckerman also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas (Waco Division) for their substantial assistance.