An Augusta woman pleaded guilty Monday to purchasing names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers – including those of state prisoners – to file false tax returns.
In exchange for her plea to conspiracy, 12 other charges against Paula Pendleton were dropped, including 11 counts of filing false returns and
tampering with a witness.
Pendleton, 53, faces up to five years in prison. U.S. District Judge Dudley Bowen reserved sentencing for a later date.
According to a federal indictment and court testimony, Pendleton and her co-conspirators, Kisha McCladdie, Linda Ziegler and Gary Hammond, prepared false returns through Pendleton’s business, Pendleton & Goudy Services, from January 2006 through August 2008.
The returns were filed using information they purchased from a number of people, including three prisoners who were paid $950 in money orders. None of those who sold their information were charged.
In other instances, the tax preparers used information without the victim’s consent and added false details such as “head of household” status and nonexistent dependents.
The other three co-conspirators resolved their cases last year. McCladdie received 20 months in prison, Ziegler 18 months and Hammond 19 months.
Assistant U.S. District Attorney Jim Durham said Monday that no other charges are expected in the case.