A Porterville woman was arrested Monday for alleged wire fraud totaling $1.3 million, money laundering, preparation of false tax returns, and interference with the administration of internal revenue laws, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said.
Marie E. Sherrill, 54, allegedly tricked victims into investing in a pyramid scheme, using some of the money to pay her own expenses. As a result of the scheme, 17 victims were defrauded of at least $1.3 million, Wagner’s office said.
Sherrill was a registered preparer of tax returns and operated a bookkeeping and tax service business, Sherrill Financial Services, in Porterville. Between 2011 and 2014, Sherrill allegedly prepared false tax returns for her clients, adding false deductions to maximize their tax refunds and costing the IRS $255,901.
If convicted, Sherrill faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud, 10 years in prison for each count of money laundering, and three years in prison for each tax charge, officials said.