COLLEGE PARK, Ga. - Channel 2 consumer investigator Jim Strickland has confirmed that College Park detectives and federal agents are conducting a joint investigation of a local tax service.
Angry clients of Direct Tax Service on Old National Highway showed up with their paperwork. Some said their refunds are missing. Others said their forms include phantom dependents or losses from businesses that don’t exist.
Jamal Randal's said he's supporting a nephew named James Adkirson.
"Is he your nephew?" asked Strickland.
"No, he's not my nephew. Never heard of him. My nephew's in another state," said Randal.
His 1040 form also lists a $3,500 business loss.
"You don't own a business?" asked Strickland.
"I wish I did. I don't own anything,” said Randal.
The entries on the form inflated his refund, which he complains he's been waiting for since February, despite e-filing.
During Strickland's interviews, a College Park police major drove up and ordered two officers to take statements. College Park and other agencies have arrested the owner, Jessica Larae Hills, before.
Strickland discovered Hills has a criminal record going back 10 years, including a stint in state prison. Strickland showed a variety of mug shots to Hills' astonished clients.
"What's your reaction to see all these pictures?” he asked.
"I wouldn't believe that she's a tax preparer," said client Brittany Newland.
Newland's return also names a dependent that doesn't exist; a niece named Jennifer Hill.
"It looks like the owners name to me," she said.
The owner called Strickland to deny any wrongdoing.
Hills accused her clients of falsifying their own tax returns.
"Direct Tax Service is full of it," said Randal.