Port Arthur woman charged in tax scheme

Marilyn Tennissen Oct. 5, 2014, 3:25pm

 A 61-year-old Port Arthur, Texas woman has been charged for her role in the Syam Tax Service scheme in the Eastern district of Texas.

Diana Broussard McCoy was indicted on Oct. 1 by a federal grand jury charging her with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to an announcement from U.S. Attorney John M. Bales on Oct. 2. 

In 2012, state and federal authorities began receiving numerous complaints from citizens in Port Arthur, Anahuac, Nacogdoches and Lufkin about fraud being committed by their tax preparers.

During the investigation in August 2012, Shannon Tecoko Mays, 36, of Dallas, was operating numerous offices across the country under the name Syam Tax Services LLC and Baby Momma Tax.

Although the principal office was located in Dallas, Mays also operated or sought to operate satellite offices in numerous other locations, including Fort Worth, Houston, New Orleans, Memphis, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles, according to the press release.

The indictment alleges that Mays employed McCoy as a “recruiter” for Southeast Texas, paying her between $50-100 for every client she successfully brought into Syam Tax.  Mays targeted individuals who were generally exempt from having to file income tax returns because they would be less likely to discover a fraudulent tax return had been filed on their behalf.

For the tax year 2011, Syam Tax filed 4,226 tax returns claiming approximately $3,150,406.

In addition to recruiting clients, Mays also allegedly altered the taxpayer’s address and phone numbers on the returns so that any phone calls or correspondence from the IRS would not reach the taxpayer and used electronic deposits to ensure paper checks would not be mailed to the taxpayer.

On Aug. 22, 2012, Port Arthur Police and federal investigators executed a search warrant on McCoy’s residence in Port Arthur.  Officers recovered numerous boxes of documents that contained the personal information of Port Arthur residents that had previously been faxed to Syam’s Houston office.

Mays was indicted on Feb. 5  for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  Mays is currently scheduled for trial on Dec. 8 before U.S. District Judge Ron Clark.

If convicted, McCoy faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

This case is being investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Port Arthur Police Department, the Texas Attorney General’s Office – Consumer Protection Division, and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Baylor Wortham.

It is important to note that a grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.


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