A Summerville income tax preparer has been charged with filing false returns.
Acting U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart announced the 17-count indictment against Earl Wayne Ravenell on May 6.
A grand jury charged Ravenell, 46, with 16 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false and fraudulent federal tax returns and one count of making and subscribing a false tax return between 2016 and 2017.
According to the indictment, the majority of the fraudulent filings claimed expenses, deductions and credits that resulted either in the unidentified taxpayers receiving refunds "substantially greater" than what they were entitled to or provided them with refunds "when they in fact owed taxes."
Ravenell faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each count.
An arraignment hearing is scheduled for May 19 in U.S. District Court in Charleston.
The Internal Revenue Service investigated the case, DeHart said.