NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk woman has been sentenced to 33 months in prison after being found guilty for wire fraud and helping prepare false and fraudulent income tax returns.
Back in November of 2020, a federal grand jury in Norfolk convicted 44-year-old Nikia Tull of five counts of wire fraud and 33 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false and fraudulent income tax returns, according to a Department of Justice news release.
Tull was the co-owner and operator of YT Phoenix Enterprises, Inc., aka Phoenix Financial Tax Service, a tax preparation service.
The release said Tull “willfully aided and assisted in, and counseled and advised” in preparing and sending 33 federal income tax returns with false information to the IRS.
According to court documents, Tull included a variety of false and fraudulent items on the income tax returns of her clients without their knowledge or consent including residential energy credits, unreimbursed employee expenses, charitable contributions, and business losses.
Officials say Tull charged her clients based on the number of separate forms filed with each return, so she was able to collect more fees for herself by including the false items and amounts.
Court documents say the IRS lost approximately $230,000 due to Tull’s actions.
In 2019, Tull submitted forged and fraudulently altered bank statements to FORA Financial LLC, a private lending company in New York, for a loan application for thousands of dollars.