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Court Bars Repeat Tax Prep Offenders

A federal court has barred a West Palm Beach, Fla., tax return preparer and her business from preparing federal income tax for others. The action was taken against Lena Cotton, who has been held in contempt of court for twice violating court orders. and her business Professional Accounting LDC LLC.

 In April 2017, the government alleged Cotton and her business used a variety of tools to inflate client tax refunds and in November that year they were permanently enjoyed from violations and were allowed to continue to prepare returns with restrictions.

Cotton was require to hire a neutral monitor to monitor compliance.

The court held Cotton and Professional Accounting in contempt of the 2017 order in August 2019 and imposed additional limits. This included limiting the number and type of returns they could preparer with the warning that this was a last chance for the defendants.

The court issued a second contempt order on January 27, finding the defendants tried to circumvent the terms of the injunction and violated instruction finding “any remedy short of a permanent injunction on return preparation is inadequate.”

Cotton and Professional Accounting are prohibited from selling customer lists to certain non-party individuals or entities as the court said such sales could be an circumvent orders. Those parties were Anthony Boone, Donellar Wims-Boone, Latesha Temple, Melissa Morgan-Wright, Kelly Dunlop, Matthew Dunlop, Richard Wise, Professional Accounting by R&K, Professional Accounting by MM, and Temple Financial Solutions.

The court held Cotton referred customers to Temple Financial Solutions, formed by Temple for which Boone preparer returns; to Professional Accounting by MM, founded by Morgan-Wright; and to Professional Accounting by R&K, which was organized by Wise and Kelly Dunlop.  All of these had worked for the defendants and Wise was a former customer. The three companies all operated out of Professional Accounting’s offices.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
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