Cincinnati woman pleads guilty to tax refund scheme

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A Cincinnati woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to file false claims for federal income tax refunds with the Internal Revenue Service.

Danita Riston, 47, appeared in a Cincinnati federal courtroom and faces a maximum of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Court documents state between January 2007 and February 2010, Riston prepared and electronically filed false claims for federal income tax refunds with the IRS for the 2006 through 2009 income tax years.

Riston reportedly agreed with the individuals to prepare their income tax returns, collecting the individual's name, social security number, date of birth, address, and the social security number for a person they could claim as a dependent.  In return, she promised the taxpayers a large income tax refund.

Prosecutors say Riston, as well as many of the taxpayers, knew that the income tax returns filed with the IRS were false and that the income tax refunds were fraudulent.

Riston reportedly had the income tax refunds directly deposited into one of several banks accounts she either owned or controlled. Court documents say she received co-signature authority on her mother's bank account and had the fraudulent income tax refunds deposited into that account, as well as her own.

Prosecutors say once Riston received the fraudulent income tax refunds, she gave a portion of the proceeds to the taxpayer and kept the remainder for herself.

Authorities believe Riston's scheme resulted in $68,717 in tax loss to the IRS.

The case was investigated by special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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