Griffin tax preparer sentenced to 3 years for filing false returns

A Griffin woman has been sentenced to three years and nine months in prison for filing false tax returns that claimed over $2.5 million in bogus refunds.

Buffy Drake, 43, was also ordered to pay more than $2.5 million in restitution. Drake had pleaded guilty on March 5, 2014, to one count of wire fraud.

“This defendant stole millions of dollars from American taxpayers through her criminal conduct. She is now going to federal prison as a result of her actions,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.

Drake operated a tax preparation business in Griffin named “Imagine That.” While operating the business, Drake filed hundreds of false tax returns that claimed millions of dollars in fraudulent refunds, according to authorities. In total, from 2011 through 2012, Drake filed tax returns claiming in excess of $2.5 million in fraudulent refunds. Drake retained a substantial portion of the proceeds from this scheme. In some instances, tax returns were filed without the permission of the individuals whose identities were used on the tax returns, authorities said.

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