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Document and Benefit Fraud

North Carolina tax preparer sentenced to federal prison

NEW BERN, N.C. — A Goldsboro tax preparer was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison Tuesday for conspiring to defraud the U.S. government. The sentence follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Wilson Police Department.

According to investigators, Tracie Jones Mathis, 47, and her co-conspirators agreed to defraud the United States by engaging in scheme to file false income tax forms and receive payment from fraudulent claims made on those forms. Mathis and her co-conspirators fraudulently manufactured W-2 forms and identification documents to serve as supporting documentation for fraudulent 1040 forms.

"The defendant and her conspirators pleaded guilty to defrauding the government of nearly $2 million in phony tax returns, thereby enriching herself at the expense of the American taxpayer," said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of HSI Atlanta, which oversees HSI investigations in Georgia and the Carolinas. "HSI will continue to work with our partners at the IRS and the U.S. Attorney's Office to hold accountable those who seek to game the system through criminal activity."

In addition to her prison sentence, Mathis must serve three years of supervised release after she is released from prison. She and a co-conspirator must also jointly pay $1.09 million in restitution.

Mathis charged Sept. 20. She pleaded guilty Jan. 16.

She was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.