Tax Preparer Indicted On 20 Counts - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson 02/27/08

Tax Preparer Indicted On 20 Counts

By Cheryl Lasseter
cheryl@wlbt.net

You may remember Janice Singleton from a WLBT News story in February 2007. She and several other women charged our news crew that was set up across the street from her Clubview Drive tax preparation business, waiting to ask her why she was still operating after being charged with multiple counts of identity theft.

Singleton has now been indicted on 20 separate counts: Five counts each of identity theft,  fraudulent use of identity, fraud by mail or other means of communication, and fraudulent statements. Singleton was a Department of Corrections employee, and all five of her victims are inmates from different prisons around the state.

"That's a multi-count indictment. For every identity that you steal, anyone's personal information that you've stolen, you've got someone's social security number, that's a separate count," says Attorney General Jim Hood.  Hood can't speak in specifics about Singleton's case, but he says he doesn't hesitate to seek the maximum penalty. Singleton could possibly serve 15 years for each count of identity theft.  "We're trying to prevent it, trying to deter it by using strong sentences, because we see this crime as continuous," Hood says.

It's unclear whether Singleton is still running her business. The State Tax Commission says tax preparers are regulated by the federal government, not the state.

Singleton's trial is expected to begin in June. Singleton worked at a correctional facility in Pearl, and that's where the crimes occurred. She is expected to stand trial in Rankin County Circuit Court in June.

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