66th tax preparer charged with fraud

Melissa Cato

A Louisiana tax preparer faces felony charges for a fraud scheme that cost taxpayers an estimated $300,000.

Melissa Cato, of Gibsland, allegedly altered clients’ state income tax returns to claim fabricated losses for businesses that did not exist.

Tax auditors with the Louisiana Department of Revenue noticed a suspicious pattern with hundreds of returns Cato filed in the tax years 2012 through 2015. Investigators determined that many of the clients had never owned or operated businesses, and had not claimed any business losses when they provided Cato with their tax records.

Cato was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Wednesday, February 22 on charges of Principal to Filing or Maintaining False Public Records and Principal to Illegal Transmission of Monetary Funds.

She is the 66th person arrested under a joint anti-tax fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.