A former York City tax preparer has been charged federally with filing fraudulent tax returns.
Carmen Olga Real, 35, of 286 Park St. in York City, is charged with conspiring to submit false and fraudulent claims for payment to the Internal Revenue Service.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg, from January 2009 to June 2009, Real conspired with other people to prepare and submit false tax returns in order to obtain larger refunds for her clients.
She listed false information in the categories of dependents, head-of-household filing statuses, child tax credits and earned income tax credits, federal prosecutors allege.
Puerto Rican connection: Real also worked with someone in Puerto Rico who gave her the Social Security numbers and dates of birth of children there, which Real then would sell to her clients so that they could claim dependents they didn't have, prosecutors allege.
She submitted about 29 fraudulent tax returns to the IRS, with a total loss estimated at $123,433, according to prosecutors.
The tax refunds were then split among the co-conspirators, including Real, her tax clients and others involved in the conspiracy, according to federal court records.
Real faces up to 10 years in prison. Federal court records note there is a plea agreement pending between Real and the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Neither she nor her federal public defender, Thomas Thornton, returned phone messages seeking comment.
Local probe: Real was first investigated for the alleged scheme by York City Police Detective Bill Follmer, who eventually filed charges against her in 10 separate cases.
For those cases, she was represented by local defense attorney Ron Gross. At the time, he told The York Dispatch Real was cooperating with investigators.
Gross previously described her as a good mom who made "a very poor decision."
In August 2010, all the charges filed against Real in York County Court were dismissed, according to court records.
Gross confirmed that's because federal authorities took over the case.
-- Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.