West Frankfort Tax Preparer Charged With Theft
FRANKLIN CO. -- A West Frankfort tax preparer has been charged with stealing more than $10,000 from her clients.
Teresa A. Joplin, 52, was arrested Tuesday on six counts of theft. Authorities say between Feb. 2012 and Feb. 2014 Joplin stole IRS refunds from three people.
Joplin was taken to the Franklin County Jail where she posted $4,500 bond and was released.
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Franklin County State's Attorney's Office and IRS continue to investigate.
Joplin says the allegations are false and she never received the money she's accused of stealing.
She acknowledges preparing tax forms for three relatives, but says someone else sent them out, and she would never scam anyone.
"There is no way that I would sacrifice my reputation and my livelihood to snip money from family members' tax returns," Joplin maintains, "I just hope that the people who really know me know that I'm not capable of this."
The Illinois Attorney General's Office reminds people to do the homework before choosing a person or company to file a tax return.
"We really want to make sure that folks know that they need to be working with legitimate sources," said spokesperson Natalie Bauer. "Calling our office to see if there are companies or preparers that have complaints filed against them is really something we want to encourage."
The IRS also warns people to check credentials and ask to have your return e-filed. You should never sign a blank return and look over all documents before signing.
When it comes to your tax refund, always have it deposited in your own bank account.
If you suspect that a tax preparer isn't following the rules, you can contact the Attorney General's office. There are also forms you can file with the IRS if you believe there's a problem with your tax return.
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