Three accused of preparing false tax returns for clients

A 17-page federal indictment accuses Brenda Benn, Kevin Towns and Stephanie Towns of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Three people accused of preparing false tax returns appeared in Norfolk federal court Wednesday.

Brenda Benn, Kevin Towns, and Stephanie Towns are charged in a 17-count federal indictment that accuses them of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government.

The indictment said Benn was the owner of A Plus Tax Services, L.L.C. and NN Financial, businesses in Suffolk and Portsmouth. Kevin and Stephanie Towns are listed as the primary tax preparers.

The paperwork claims that between 2009 and 2014, the defendants would charge a fee and prepare false income tax returns for their clients to get higher refunds than they were entitled to. This led to repeat business and the three profited, the documents allege.

The indictment lists eight clients and more than $280,000 in false claims. The defendants are accused of falsifying medical and job expenses and gifts to charity to be deducted from clients’ taxable income and reduce their liabilities. The three falsified the returns without getting proper documentation or authorization from customers, the indictment claims.

The defendants are due back in court at the end of the month. They were allowed to leave on bond, but a judge told them they cannot prepare tax returns for others as one of the conditions. Attorneys for Benn and Kevin Towns said they could not comment on the case.