Fayette County Woman Charged for Tax Scam Worth Millions

Woman in Fayette County Scammed People Nationwide.

fayetteville woman tax scam
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Author: Laurel Clarke
Date Published: August 1, 2014

Fayette Woman Worked with Religious Ministers to Carry Out The Fraud.

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On Thursday, a woman from Fayette County was charged for her involvement in a $4.8 million tax scam. The information of low-income people of Northeast Ohio and other places throughout the country was used to carry out this fraudulent tax conspiracy.

How Were Ministers Involved?

The woman’s name is Zinara Highsmith. She created a tax-preparation business called WE XL LLC in 2010 in Fayette County. According to a U.S. Attorney Steven Delletbach, “she took advantage of programs designed to give people a hand up and instead used them to make herself rich.”

In 2011, Highsmith began working with a minister in Arkansas in the scheme. The minister worked with ministers in Arkansas and other states including Ohio to collect the information (name, social security number, and other) from low-income individuals. It is not clear how or if the ministers are being charged for their misdeeds.

Charges on Highsmith

Highsmith then used the information to file false returns which claimed income levels and fabricated tax credits. She filed approximately 2,750 false tax returns containing false claims of more than $4.8 million. Nearly 1,000 were North Ohioans that got refunds totaling about $1.7 million. She is accused of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Many of the tax refunds totaled $1,857. For each refund, Highsmith received about $275, The Arkansas minister received $125, and the remaining $1,475 went to the recruit whose information was falsely submitted. In total, Highsmith gained approximately $500,000 in the entire process.

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