HOUSTON – A Harris County woman alleges a tax preparer pocketed some of her 2016 refund money and has filed a lawsuit.

Jessica Santos sued Fabrice Mahinga, doing business as Kennedy Tax Services, in the Harris County 61st District Court on Mar. 15, claiming Mahinga deceptively promised her she would receive a refund of $7,875 after she hired him to prepare her federal income tax return.

Santos says she conducted further research and IRS records revealed that she was actually due an $8,821 refund for the 2016 tax year.

“Mr. Mahinga had given her a false copy of the tax return and had the refund deposited to a bank account that did not belong to Ms. Santos,” the suit says.

According to court papers, the IRS deposited the $8,821 refund but the defendant withheld $1,052.90 for himself.

Santos additionally alleges that Mahinga wrongfully claimed the Education Tax Credit on her return though she told him at the beginning of their business relationship that she was not in school.

Her attempts to speak to him about her refund were unsuccessful, the suit says.

Lisa Vergen of Lone Star Legal Aid is representing the complainant.

Harris County 61st District Court Case No. 2018-17459

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