An Ash Flat tax preparer and his wife were found guilty on 44 of 60 counts related to tax evasion and theft of Social Security funds in U.S. District Court in Little Rock April 26.
According to a press release from the United States Attorney's office for the Eastern District, James Bruce Morris, age 65, and his wife, Karen Sue Morris, age 48, the operators of B. Morris Ltd., tax preparation services in Ash Flat, Ark., were found guilty on all 44 counts of the superseding indictment.
After nine hours of deliberation following a two-week trial, James and Karen Morris, were convicted by a jury of charges related to theft of Social Security funds; obtaining Title IV funds through fraud; and submitting false tax returns for themselves and others. In addition, James was convicted of theft of Veterans Administration funds.
The maximum statutory penalty for theft of government funds is 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The maximum statutory penalty for concealing a material fact regarding the receipt of Social Security funds, conspiring to defraud the government, obtaining Title IV funds by fraud and false statement is 5 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The maximum statutory penalty for filing a false tax return and causing another to do the same is three years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The Morris' are not detained. They will be sentenced at a date to be determined by the court.
This investigation was conducted by agents from the Internal Revenue Service Office of Criminal Investigations, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, the Veterans Administration Office of Inspector General, and the Department of Education Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Laura G. Hoey and John Ray White.