COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A former Richland County Sheriff's deputy charged with preparing false income tax returns has pleaded guilty to federal charges.
Maribel Crespo, 40, of Columbia, pleaded guilty to presenting false claims. She was accused of preparing fraudulent tax returns for several employees of the Richland County Sheriff's department by adding false information to the returns.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Crespo attached children's information to the tax returns so that she could claim them as false dependents and artificially inflate the amount of the tax return. These children were typically citizen children of non-citizen Hispanics in the Columbia area. Crespo would facilitate the payment of part of the return to the parents of the dependent, some to herself and the remainder to the tax filer.
Based on IRS calculations, Crespo caused $327,963 in loss to the Treasury based on her fraudulent returns.
A sentencing date has not been set, but she faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.