Texas resident Eric G. Hicks has pleaded guilty to conspiring with an Arkansas woman to defraud the IRS through filing tax returns on behalf of fictional employees. His co-conspirator, former Little Rock tax preparer Lakeshia D. Calvin, was slated to go to trial before a federal judge on the related charges also filed against her.
Over 100 claims filed on behalf of fictional employees
The federal indictment filed against Hicks claimed that the Texarkana resident created fictional businesses with his co-conspirator, Lakeshia D. Calvin, and filed tax returns on behalf of the individuals allegedly employed by these businesses. In all, the pair is alleged to have filed 104 fraudulent claims for tax refunds. The refunds ranged in amount from $2,247 to $10,024. Hicks and Calvin also filed false returns on their own behalf, claiming that they had been employed by businesses that did not employ them. Hicks’ false return was for $3,930, and Calvin’s was for $10,474. Hicks and Calvin are believed to have obtained roughly $555,000 in fraudulent returns through the scheme.
Recorded jailhouse phone calls used to seal the case
Federal investigators gathered much of the evidence they used to support the indictment from phone conversations between Hicks and Calvin recorded while Hicks was in jail in November of 2011 and February of 2012. During these calls, Hicks described the steps that Calvin should take to create limited liability companies, tax ID numbers, and false employee identities to use in filing the fraudulent returns. Hicks and Calvin also discussed the employee identities that “didn’t go through” when filing returns in prior years, as well as where to transfer the funds they obtained from the government and how these funds would be divided between them.
A federal grand jury indicted Hicks and Calvin in September of 2016, but the indictment wasn’t made public until after Hicks was arrested in Miami in April of 2017 on a federal warrant issued in Arkansas. In November of 2017, Hicks pled guilty to conspiracy to file false claims against the United States and submitting false and fraudulent claims. His criminal trial was scheduled to begin on December 4, 2017. Hicks will face sentencing in the coming weeks.
If you’re facing a tax-based legal issue in Texas, get help from a seasoned, experienced Tyler tax attorney by contacting the Scammahorn Law Firm for a consultation at 903-595-1000.