BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ) — An Owings Mills woman was sentenced to seven years in prison for filing false tax returns and stealing other people’s personal information.
45-year-old Dawn Chapelle Cottman was found guilty on 14 counts of filing false tax returns, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
She owned a tax preparation business called 40 AM Tax Service, which she operated from her home in Owings Mills. A federal jury convicted Cottman back on May 22.
Evidence presented at trial showed that from January 2009, until March 2013, Cottman filed hundreds of tax returns, then had those tax refunds deposited into her bank account instead of having the refunds sent to the taxpayers.
Many of the returns she filed had false information to get more money back on the tax refunds.
Cottman was also found guilty of paying money to get the personal information of other people. She would then file fake tax returns and have the money deposited in her account.
Court documents show Cottman falsely claimed in her tax return that her tax preparation business had made $152,100 in 2011, even though more than $1 million of other people’s tax refunds were wired into her bank account.
She also falsely claimed to have earned $17,000 in 2011, but authorities found that she spent more than $250,000 that year on personal items, including trips to Disneyland, Las Vegas, Busch Gardens, and Atlantic City.