Charlotte tax preparer sentenced for fake returns

A Charlotte woman who operated an income tax preparation company was sentenced Wednesday to 33 months in prison after a conviction on charges of filing false tax returns and lying on a loan application, federal prosecutors said.

Nkhenge “Konjay” Shropshire, 41, also was ordered to pay $582,933 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and nearly $40,000 to a pair of credit unions that authorities said she defrauded.

According to court documents and testimony in a sentencing hearing Wednesday, Shropshire owned and operated Tax Connections in Charlotte. Between 2009 and 2011, she helped prepare more than 600 tax returns for clients.

Prosecutors said Shropshire falsely included Schedule C losses and refundable education credits on some of the returns, which increased the tax refund for those clients. Court records show that Shropshire then directed much of the extra money into a business bank account she controlled.

In some cases, according to prosecutors, Shropshire did not provide clients with copies of their completed tax returns or gave them incomplete copies, so they would not know the returns contained false information.

In October 2011, according to court documents, Shropshire applied for membership with a federal credit union, using a different Social Security number and home address. On the same day, authorities said, she filled out an application for a car loan with the same credit union, to buy a 2008 Mercedes CLS 550. On that application, Shropshire listed a false employer, false annual salary and false job title, according to court records.

She pleaded guilty in October 2013 to conspiracy to defraud the IRS and making false statements on a loan application.