A tax preparer from Kansas City, MO pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to a wire fraud scheme in which she reportedly filed dozens of fraudulent tax returns that resulted in more than $238,000 in refunds being issued to individuals who were not entitled to receive them.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says that 45-year old Onrea Knox-Lewis waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Knox-Lewis was a self-employed tax return preparer. By pleading guilty, she admitted that she filed income tax returns for the tax years 2012 through 2014 claiming false refunds. The fraudulent tax returns reported bogus wages, income tax withholdings and/or fraudulent dependents as well as the Earned Income Credit.

In some instances, Knox-Lewis reportedly prepared and filed tax returns using stolen personal identification information.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office indicates that after Knox-Lewis filed the fraudulent tax returns over the internet, she had the bogus refunds loaded onto prepaid debit cards; she utilized all, or in some cases only a portion, of the funds for her own personal expenses.

Through her scheme to defraud the IRS, Knox-Lewis prepared and filed numerous fraudulent income tax returns resulting in $238,666 in refunds being issued to individuals who were not entitled to receive them.

Under federal statutes, Knox-Lewis is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

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