A 41-year-old Colorado Springs woman was sentenced Tuesday to five years and three months in prison for her role in an multiple-state tax fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Western District of Missouri.
Kalena Latoya Winston also was ordered to pay the IRS more than $254,000 after she pleaded guilty in October to stealing money from clients in Colorado, Kansas and Tennessee, the Attorney's Office said.
She will not be eligible for parole during her sentence, the office said.
The office found that Winston operated a tax return preparation scheme in 2011 and 2012 and filed false returns in Kansas City, Mo. Her main practice was to include false Schedule C businesses on her client' returns to increase the refund amount by qualifying them for, or maximizing, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the office said in a news release Tuesday.
"Winston received debit cards containing the tax refunds from the false returns," the office reported. "Instead of listing her clients' address on the returns, Winston listed the addresses of her co-conspirators so that she could maintain control over the refunds."
Pete Scott, 38, of Spring Hill, Fla., pleaded guilty in November to his role in the tax fraud scheme, the office said. He admitted to distributing the refund debit cards only after the money was withdrawn from the accounts, the office added.