Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley tells News 3 the IRS asked them to help search the after the IRS received a tip that the company was filing false tax returns. Investigators collected filing-cabinets full of tax documents and sheriff deputies searched the business owner's home where they found marijuana, $11,000 dollars in cash and additional tax documents.
“I initiated my investigative team to go out to residence and sit on it to see if the business owner was at the home,” explained Sheriff Jolley. “After about 15 minutes the owner walked out of the residence…they asked if a consent search could be done by our office for her residence and she consented.”
After the search, Melissa Lowe, the Priority Tax Service owner, and Phenix City man Marcus Calhoun were charged with possession of marijuana. Calhoun told investigators he was staying at Lowe’s home, according to Sheriff Jolley.
Jolley says he didn't believe Calhoun was directly involved with the tax company, but suspected he laundered money for the business and expects the state to charge both individuals with identity theft.
The IRS was unable to comment on how many people may have been affected or how much money was involved since it's an ongoing investigation. They did offer tips when choosing a Return Preparer:
If you suspect tax fraud, the IRS asks you to visit their website.
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