Betty Hawkins and Phyllis Ricks, two tax preparers from North Carolina, have been sentenced to prison for filing false tax returns on behalf of their clients.

From 2009 through 2017, Hawkins and Ricks conspired with others at the tax preparation business where they worked to generate inflated returns for their clients. In 2018 they left the company and opened their own tax preparation business, where they continued to file false tax returns.

Hawkins and Ricks filed tax returns using fictitious federal income tax withholding figures, as well as other fraudulent information.

The women filed more than 1,000 false tax returns with the IRS and claimed approximately five million dollars in fraudulent refunds.

Ricks, 63, was sentenced to three years in prison and Hawkins, 51, was sentenced to two years. They were ordered to pay 5.2 million dollars in restitution to the IRS.