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Tax preparer guilty of filing false returns

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ROCKY MOUNT ­— For the second time in a decade, a woman has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to prepare and file false tax returns. The three-year scam resulted in a loss of more than $2 million in tax dollars.

Bertha Battle, 40, admitted in federal court last week to conspiring with others to file false tax returns for the 2013 through 2016 tax years for clients of Community Tax Services, a limited-liability company located in Rocky Mount.

Battle and her co-conspirators filed tax returns that claimed false education credits, among other illegitimate items, in order to fraudulently generate clients’ tax refunds, said Don Connelly, public information officer for U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr.’s office.

The Internal Revenue Service’s total loss is calculated at $2.2 million.

Battle, also known as Bug, previously pleaded guilty to similar federal tax charges in 2009.

Battle pleaded guilty last week to a conspiracy to prepare and file false tax returns and faces up to five years imprisonment when she is sentenced during the court’s November term.

Higdon, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Swank accepted Battle’s plea. IRS Criminal Investigations assisted in the probe. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Ontjes prosecuted the case.