Program Analyst at FEMA Prepared False Tax Returns from her Workplace
– A federal grand jury has indicted Shanta Johnson, age 43, of
Germantown, Maryland, on the federal charges of aiding and assisting in
the filing of false tax returns and subscribing to false tax returns.
The indictment was returned on July 13, 2020, and was unsealed at her
initial appearance today.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the
District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Kelly R.
Jackson of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation
(IRS-CI), Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Assistant Special Agent in
Charge Karen Jordan of the Department of Homeland Security, Office of
Inspector General (DHS-OIG), Washington, D.C. Field Office.
According to the indictment, Johnson – who is a program analyst at
the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management
Agency - prepared false and fraudulent tax returns from her home as well
as from her workplace. Johnson allegedly prepared fraudulent tax
returns for 11 clients for tax years 2014 and 2015. Johnson reported
inflated or fictitious deductions for gifts to charity and unreimbursed
employee expenses; false profits or losses to either inflate or reduce
her clients’ earned income; and entirely fictitious expenses for
educational institutions her clients had not attended. For example, as
detailed in the indictment, Johnson reported for Client A fraudulent
unreimbursed employee expenses of $8,125. The falsities that Johnson
created and reported to the IRS reduced tax liabilities for her clients
and increased tax credits, including the Earned Income Credit, and
refunds for the client-taxpayers.
Further, the indictment alleges that Johnson did not report the money
she received from preparing clients’ tax returns on her own tax returns
and she falsely reported net business losses to reduce her own reported
If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum sentence of three years in
federal prison for each of the 18 counts of aiding and assisting in the
filing of a false tax return; and for each of the three counts of making
and subscribing to a false tax return. Actual sentences for federal
crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district
court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the
U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by
indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some
later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the IRS-CI, and
DHS-OIG for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant
U.S. Attorney Gregory Bernstein, who is prosecuting the case.