Eight years after collecting $221,500 in illegal tax refunds, a 42-year-old former tax preparer was sentenced today to 18 months in prison.
U.S. District Judge James L. Graham also ordered Anita M. Martin to pay back the money she stole in 2003 and 2004 by filing false tax returns while working for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service in Columbus.
As part of the scheme, Martin, formerly of Columbus, forged W-2 forms for 62 unemployed people, filed their tax returns and then split the refunds with them.
Martin’s attorney, Kort W. Gatterdam, said his client had an abusive childhood and an early drug addiction but has gotten clean and is a different person than she was when she committed the crimes.
“I realize my mistakes and realize what I’ve done,” she said. “I’ve done everything I could do to lay a foundation for a new life.”
Sentencing for Martin was a long time coming. She was negotiating with investigators in 2005 when the case hit a snag.
She relocated and wasn’t found until 2011, when she had landed in the Ohio Reformatory for Women after being convicted on state charges of forgery and tampering with evidence. She has a year in prison left on those charges.
Graham ordered the federal prison term to be served after the state-prison term.
In January, Martin pleaded guilty in federal court to single counts of tax-fraud conspiracy and filing a false tax return.
Her co-schemer, Fred J. Johnson, 42, was sentenced to a year in prison in 2010. In May, Graham ordered Johnson back to prison for six months after he violated his probation.
By Kathy Lynn Gray - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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