Augusta businesswoman Paula Pendleton sentenced to prison for preparing false tax returns

A former Augusta businesswoman was sentenced Thursday to serve 41 months in prison for conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Paula Pendleton, 54, received a longer prison term than her co-conspirators because she was the mentor in the scheme, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. said of his decision.

Pendleton, who now lives in Florida and whose last business venture in Augusta was Pendleton & Goudy Services on Dennis Road, bilked the government by filing false income tax returns to take fraudulent advantage of the earned income tax credit from 2006 through 2008. The special credit was established to help the working poor obtain larger tax refunds, Bowen said Thursday.

Once she completes the prison term, Pendleton will be supervised for three years. She will owe $32,572 in restitution.

Pendleton taught several other people how to file the false claims, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Stewart said Thursday.

The others involved in the scheme were: Gary H. Hammond, sentenced to 19 months in prison; Kisha K. McCladdie, sentenced to 20 months in prison; and Linda P. Ziegler, sentenced to 18 months. Their restitution amount is $59,800.

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