Milledgeville tax preparers plead guilty to falsifying tax returns

48-year-old Willie Moore and 47-year-old James Prather entered guilty pleas in federal court.

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MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Milledgeville tax preparers plead guilty to manipulating and falsifying client information on thousands of filed tax returns.

According to Charles Peeler, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, 48-year-old Willie Moore and 47-year-old James Prather entered guilty pleas in federal court. The men prepared tax returns at “Mr. Tax, Etc.” on North Columbia Street in Milledgeville.

According to an IRS criminal investigation, Moore admitted he would increase a client’s tax returns by listing fake businesses, profits, educational expenses and household income. According to investigators, most of the clients said their income tax returns were not explained to them, and they did not get to review them. Some clients reported having a copy of their returns with missing pages, parts or schedules.

According to bank records, more than $400,000 in transfers were made to the defendants. Investigators identified a total of 5,529 suspicious federal income tax returns for the 2011 – 2014 tax years.

“Both defendants criminally manipulated the tax system for their benefit, ultimately stealing a vast sum of money from taxpayers,” said Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney.

Moore entered a guilty plea to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States.

Prather previously pleaded guilty to one count Conspiracy to Defraud the United States on May 8, 2019, causing a $1,000,000 loss to the United States Government.

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Shelby Coates anchors 41NBC News at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11. She returns to 41NBC after working in Evansville, Indiana as the Morning/Noon Anchor and Executive Producer for WEVV. Shelby also spent time in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where she spent three years anchoring and producing the weekend morning newscasts at WSPA-TV. She also worked as a general assignment reporter, receiving several honors for her investigative and consumer reporting. Shelby has spent time working as a news anchor/reporter in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Macon, Georgia; and Abilene, Texas. Shelby is a native of Clarksville, Tennessee. She graduated from Abilene Christian University in Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and Mass Communication and a minor in sociology. Shelby has a passion for empowering local communities, church ministry, public speaking, strengthening women and mentoring young people.