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Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Tax Charges

VALLEY ROUNDUP | Palmdale

May 11, 1999|ANDREW BLANKSTEIN

A Palmdale woman pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges of filing false tax returns while working as a tax preparer, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Shela Gilford, 39, was indicted last month on eight felony counts, including preparing false tax returns in the names of clients and preparing false tax returns under aliases, according to U.S. Atty. Alejandro N. Mayorkas.

Freed after posting $50,000 bail, Gilford faces up to 24 years in federal prison and fines up to $800,000 if convicted. A trial before U.S. District Judge J. Spencer Letts is due to begin July 6.

Federal authorities said Gilford, who also used the surnames Alexander and Wilson, was targeted by the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division.

Most of the offenses involved taxpayers who received refunds after claiming fuel tax credits of between $1,400 and $5,500, according to prosecutors.

The alleged offenses took place on 1993 and 1994 returns while Gilford was working as a tax preparer in Inglewood and Hawthorne, according to the federal indictment.

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