- Associated Press - Friday, March 6, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A Destrehan tax preparer accused of filing hundreds of fraudulent returns that netted more than $1.8 million has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to make restitution.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/1CDcO4L ) 30-year-old Lashanda Vinnett and her mother, 46-year-old Cathy Vinnett pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government through their company, River Parish Tax Professionals. Each faced up to 10 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle sentenced the younger defendant Wednesday. He also ordered her to pay $1,092,681 in restitution.

Her mother was sentenced in October to 41 months in prison.

Authorities say the IRS seized about $482,000 in illegal proceeds from bank accounts controlled by the Vinnetts, and prevented about $270,000 in fraudulent refunds before they were processed.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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