Why feds pounced on Wellington woman’s tax returns

The U.S. Department of Justice is accusing a Wellington woman of filing false tax returns including education credits at Palm Beach State College for at least 31 clients.

One problem: The school has no record those clients ever attended, federal officials said Tuesday.

Lena Cotton of Wellington and her business, Professional Accounting LDC in West Palm Beach, understated liabilities, overstated refunds and provided bogus information on U.S. income tax returns for customers, according to a civil suit filed in federal court in West Palm Beach.

The suit asks a judge to order Cotton and the firm to “disgorge” receipts from returns with improper claims, and it seeks to bar her and the business from preparing returns for others.

A review of 1,034 returns prepared by the defendants for tax years 2012 through 2014 uncovered misstatements on 671 returns (64.9 percent) that cost the government more than $900,000 in revenue, according to the suit.

Attempts to reach Cotton for comment were not immediately successful. No attorney was listed for her in federal court records.

 

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