MONTGOMERY, Ala. (CN) - A woman claims her tax preparer stole her $2,000 federal refund and told her the IRS had "kept" the money, then stole a $5,178 refund the next year though she hadn't even hired him, and when she confronted him he tried to bribe her with "a few hundred dollars."
Lillie Patton sued Jack Jones and his Jack Jones Income Tax Service in Federal Court. She says she hired Jones to file 2008 tax returns for her and her dependent son, co-plaintiff James Searight.
Patton says Jones told her she qualified for a $2,000 refund under Earned Income Tax Credits, but she never got it, "because" according to Jones, "the IRS 'kept' the same."
The next year she went to another tax preparer, who eventually told her that her return had been rejected because her son "had independently filed his own income tax return."
But he hadn't.
So Patton went to the IRS office, where she was informed that "Jack with Jack Jones Income Tax" had filed the return as a "paid preparer."
But he wasn't.
Nonetheless, according to the complaint, Jones had filed a return for Searight, calling him a head of household with two dependents. Patton says the IRS issued a refund of $5,178, and sent it to the address of Jones's employee Dorothy McCrae, now a defendant.
Patton says her son confronted Jones about his filing James's federal tax return with false information, without his knowledge, consent or authorization.
"Jack was unable to provide James with any explanation other than 'Our computer system is down so call back tomorrow,'" according to the complaint.
"After James' repeated phone calls and visits demanding an explanation, Jack promised James that, in return for James refraining from filing a police report or contacting any tax agencies, Jack would pay James a 'few hundred dollars'. James declined Jack's offer," according to the complaint.
Patton says Jones defrauded her and her son and the U.S. government. She sued Jones himself and his Jack Jones Enterprises, Jack Jones Income Tax Service and J and J Fast Tax Service, and McCrae.
Now, Patton says, "James and Lillie live in fear that the IRS ... will demand of them the refunds received unlawfully and without their authorization."
They seek punitive damages for fraud, RICO fraud and privacy invasion. They are represented by Anthony Bush.
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