Channel 2 confronts tax preparers accused of defrauding clients

by: Nicole Carr Updated:

ATLANTA - Former clients of a local tax preparer who's facing a criminal fraud investigation say the woman is still soliciting their business a year after she caused auditors to come after them.

Investigators say Ruth Barr's tax service cost the state millions in fraudulent returns.

Former clients told Channel 2’s Nicole Carr this is a case of adding insult to injury.

Barr’s former clients told Carr they were shocked to receive a flier in the mail promising accurate returns. It came from a woman state investigators believe cost the state millions of dollars and clients a ton of financial headaches.

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Carr went to the location listed on the flier and tried to talk to the workers inside. Carr recognized the woman who answered the door as Ann Barr Cruz, Ruth Barr’s daughter.

"I have someone who wants to get in here. You need to go away," Cruz told Carr as she answered the door.

Carr told her there was no one waiting to get inside the business when she knocked on the door. Cruz told her she needed to leave anyway.

Carr showed the tax preparer’s new flier to some of her former clients.

“Are you kidding? I thought, here's a tax person that's going through criminal investigation who has now caused me to go through an audit and now is sending me a card, regarding a new business,” Marie Ledford said about receiving the flier in the mail.


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A judge ruled in Barr's favor earlier this month, saying Barr and her daughter could continue preparing taxes despite the state's warning against the move.

Barr is the subject of a criminal investigation. Georgia's Department of Revenue said her filings have been fraudulent.

“In the end, it sounds like the liability of the return is still on me,” former client Joshua Hall told Carr.

The state has started asking taxpayers to repay more than $6 million dollars owed to the state.

“That might be their mortgage or that might be their life. And now this company has pretty much taken that away from them,” Ledford said.

Ledford came to Channel 2 Action News to warn others after being mailed a flier under Barr's new business name, Your Favorite Tax Ladies, Inc. They promise accurate returns and maximized deductions.

Clients including Ledford have been the subject of state audits after using Barr’s services before.

“What was on my tax form and what was actually... adjusted gross (income) was almost $5,000 more,” Ledford said.

Ledford told Carr that she has pretty much resolved her issues but found herself in what looked like deep trouble.

“Now, I get a third letter. They're going to put a lien on my home,” Ledford said.

Some are still going through repayment.

“(I) definitely don't have the money to pay back thousands and thousands of returns,” Hall told Carr.

Barr and her daughter were unwilling to talk about soliciting business from the people who now warn others.

“Keep your records. Look at the company. Make sure they'll back you. It might just be worth paying a little bit more to have that reassurance they will be there when this type of situation occurs,” Ledford said.  

The state says clients who have already used Barr to file their taxes will have returns flagged and reviewed before refunds are sent.