Tax preparer accused of costing state nearly $300,000 in false filings
BATON ROUGE – A Louisiana tax preparer faces fraud charges for a scheme that cost taxpayers an estimated $300,000.
The Louisiana Department of Revenue reported the arrest of Melissa Cato for allegedly altering clients' state income tax returns to claim losses for businesses that did not exist. Auditors with the Department of Revenue noticed a pattern with hundreds of returns Cato filed in 2012 though 2015.
Investigators determined that many of the clients never owned or operated businesses and did not claim any business losses when they provided Cato with their tax information.
Cato was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of principal to filing or maintaining false public records and principal to illegal transmission of monetary funds. The Attorney General's office also assisted in the arrest.