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Chester tax preparer accused of falsifying returns, pocketing refunds

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — A Chester woman was indicted by a federal grand jury for her role in a money-making tax return scheme. Crystal Charmae Richards, 44, of Chester, worked as a tax return preparer from 2011 to 2015, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“During that time, they [Richards and David Wayne Schneider] regularly prepared returns on behalf of clients that falsely claimed dependents, small business income or losses, and education credits, which resulted in payment of inflated refunds to the clients,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “Richards also used the identities of certain clients without their knowledge or permission to file tax returns that generated refunds. In those instances, Richards pocketed the entirety of the refund.”

Schneider pleaded guilty January 27 and was sentenced to 24 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay $515,104.74 in restitution to the IRS.