Lonnise Janelle Andrews (Macon, GA) Pleads Guilty to $3.5+ Million Tax Filing Scheme

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MACON, Ga. – A Middle Georgia woman admitted she falsified tax documents and received more than $331,758 in refunds, including creating a fake business claiming hundreds of non-existent employees, in an attempt to commit a tax fraud scheme totaling more than $3.5 million.

Lonnise Janelle Andrews, 43, of Macon, pleaded guilty to one count of making and subscribing a false return, one count of false claim for a tax credit and one count of false claim for a refund before U.S. District Marc T. Treadwell on Sept. 11. Andrews faces a maximum sentence of thirteen years in prison and a maximum of $600,000 in fines. In addition, Andrews agreed to pay $331,758 restitution to the IRS. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2024. Andrews is not eligible for parole.

“Those engaged in tax refund schemes and fraud are breaking federal law and will be held accountable for these crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Working with our law enforcement partners, we will seek justice on behalf of taxpayers.”

“Lonnise Andrews took responsibility today for fraudulently obtaining tax refunds and Employee Retention Credits when she pled guilty to these crimes,” said Demetrius Hardeman, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office. “IRS Criminal special agents will continue investigating, on behalf of honest taxpayers, those who engage in breaking tax laws.”

According to court documents, Andrews falsified IRS tax forms for herself, her father and a fake business, including reporting incomes, losses and withholdings she knew not to be true. On her own Form 1040 filed for tax year 2019, Andrews used a tax preparation website to generate fake Forms 1099-MISC and 1099-R; as a result, the IRS issued her a $165,245 refund check she was not entitled to, and she cashed.

In addition to the false Forms 1040 filed for herself and her father, Andrews filed false Forms 941 and Forms 7200, the latter developed by IRS in response to employment tax legislation, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Andrews filed for an entity named Andrews Harris Corbin (AHC), listing her father and a fictitious person named “Greg Corbin” as the organizers of AHC. AHC never filed an income tax return, had not been reported as a Schedule C business on anyone’s tax return and has never filed any documents with the Social Security Administration pertaining to its employees. Andrews signed and filed the false forms in 2020 and attempted to—and at one point successfully did—obtain refunds and credits. She reported AHC had 957 employees and requested a credit via a Form 7200 in the amount of $3,086,325. On April 11, 2020, she filed a quarterly Form 941 reporting AHC paid $1,435,500 in wages, tips and other compensation, and requested a refund in the amount of $25,978.83. AHC had no employees, had not paid any payroll taxes to be eligible for a refund and was not entitled to these credits and refunds. The IRS processed the Form 941 request for refund and sent a check in the amount of $25,978.83 to AHC at a UPS mailbox in Macon that Andrews had her father set up. Surveillance video confirmed her father picked the check up on Dec. 8, 2020. The check was not deposited and was later found in her bedroom during a search.

As part of her plea agreement, Andrews has agreed to pay restitution for the entirety of tax refunds listed in the indictment, totaling $331,758.

The case was investigated by the IRS.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth Howard and Amy Helmick are prosecuting the case for the Government.

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