A federal court has permanently barred Rita Augustus from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. Augustus prepared tax returns in Chicago under the business names Windy City Tax Service and Windy City Insurance Agency Inc. The civil injunction order, to which Augustus consented, was signed by Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
According to the government complaint , Augustus has included fabricated charitable donations, employee business expenses and other deductions on tax returns that she has prepared since 2006. For tax years 2005 through 2009, Augustus allegedly prepared more than 4,000 federal income tax returns for customers with an unusually high refund rate. According to the complaint, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that her return preparation activity for those years could have resulted in as much as $20 million or more in lost tax revenue.
The court order requires Augustus to provide the government with a list identifying all persons for whom she prepared federal tax returns for tax years 2005 through 2009. The court also required her to post a copy of the order at her business address in a place visible to potential customers.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2011. In the past 10 years, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of tax return preparers and tax fraud promoters. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website .
Corporate Counsel Women of Color (“CCWC”) has unveiled its seminal study on the work experience of women of color attorneys. The report — The Perspectives of Women of Color Attorneys in Corporate Legal Departments — reveals new data about an increasingly important sector of the legal community. CCWC used a special luncheon presentation and panel discussion at the New York Hilton last week as the backdrop to release the findings from its two-year research initiative.
“This study reveals a pipeline of diverse and talented women of color attorneys in corporations,” said Laurie Robinson, Founder and CEO of CCWC. “We expect both corporate law departments and law firms globally to benefit from our findings and recommendations. But as with any initiative of this magnitude, the lasting impact will come from actual implementation of the course of action we have identified.”
Award-winning journalist Ed Gordon, Host of Weekly with Ed Gordon on BET Networks, moderated the panel, which featured engaging discussions on recruitment, retention and advancement of women of color attorneys at law firms and in corporations. Presenters included general counsels of Fortune 1000 and Forbes 2000 companies, as well as the managing partners of some of the nation’s largest law firms.
Key findings from the CCWC study include:
• The experience of working in a corporate legal department was rated better than the experience of working in a law firm based on six key areas: access to senior management, access to clients, work assignments, atmosphere of inclusion, promotional opportunities, and training and development opportunities.
• “Being valued” was rated the number one element in current job satisfaction.
• Corporate legal departments were viewed as minimally diverse.
• Gender was perceived as more of a barrier to advancement than race and/or ethnicity, but this did not deter in-house women of color from setting high goals for advancement.
This report gives corporations, as well as law firms—which have been noted to have high attrition rates within this unique group—the tools and best practices they need to engage, leverage, and maximize the talented pool of women of color attorneys within their ranks.
Eight hundred fifty-seven women attorneys of color from across the nation participated in an online web survey, which was developed by the Center for Creative Leadership and analyzed by researcher Saundra Murray Nettles, Ph.D. 500 participated in live audience testing at the CCWC Fifth Annual Career Strategies Conference in Las Vegas, and 40 participated in three focus groups. The participants’ qualitative and quantitative responses enabled CCWC® to delve sufficiently into perspectives on the transition from the law firm setting to the corporate setting; compare the law firm environment to the corporate environment; and examine perceptions about the in-house work environment, perceived barriers, advancement opportunities, and career aspirations.