San Diego tax preparer accused of getting clients millions in fraudulent refunds

SAN DIEGO — A federal court in San Diego has permanently barred a local tax preparer, who reduced her customers’ tax liabilities by improperly claiming a variety of deductions and education tax credits, from handling federal returns for others, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

According to the government, Melissa Lang, formerly known as Melissa Ann Vega, caused returns to be filed that claimed fraudulent refunds of more than $9 million, which included about $7 million in false education credits. Lang filed, or caused to be filed through her associates and employees, upwards of 4,200 false returns, court papers show.

Lang, who operated tax return preparation businesses called “L&T Works” and “Lang Works LLC,” agreed to the civil injunction order entered against her, which requires the San Diego woman to turn over to the government a list of all principals, managers, employees and independent contractors for her tax preparation businesses.

Lang pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file false, fictitious and fraudulent claims, tax evasion and aggravated identity theft, according to the Justice Department.