NASHVILLE – A federal indictment unsealed today, charges two Spring Hill, Tennessee women with conspiracy to commit tax fraud and 12 counts of employment tax fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Ketura Oden, 46, and Consuela Oden, 51, were arrested by IRS Criminal Investigation agents earlier today.
According to the indictment, between February 2015 and February 2022, Ketura Oden and Consuela Oden, who are sisters, conspired to defraud the IRS with respect to employment taxes. The indictment alleges that beginning in 2004, Ketura Oden owned and operated a home health care business, Complete Care Choice, in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Between 2006 and 2012, the IRS initiated two collections actions because Ketura Oden had withheld taxes from her employees’ paychecks while failing to pay those taxes to the IRS. Ketura Oden entered into two installment agreements with the IRS.
In January 2013, the IRS opened another collection action on Complete Care Choice because Ketura Oden had again withheld employment taxes from her employees’ paychecks while failing to pay those taxes to the IRS. In December 2014, the IRS notified Ketura Oden that if she did not pay the employment taxes, the IRS would recommend her for civil injunction or criminal prosecution. Two months later, Ketura Oden opened her business under a new name, Complete Home Care Services of TN, Inc. (Complete Home Care), and registered the business in the State of Tennessee, listing Consuela Oden as the owner.
A few days after opening the business under the new name, Ketura Oden told the IRS that she was closing Complete Care Choice and going to work at another home health agency as a wage-earning employee. Ketura Oden also falsely told the IRS that Complete Home Care provided different services than Complete Care Choice. In fact, Ketura Oden continued to run the business, and Complete Home Care continued to operate just as Complete Care Choice had done, with the same employees, clients, customers, and vendors. Consuela Oden held herself out to the IRS and others as the “owner” of the business.
In January 2017, the IRS initiated a collection action against Complete Home Care for unpaid employment taxes. During the collection action, both women held Consuela Oden out to be the owner of the business.
In October 2017, Consuela Oden filed a personal income tax return, on which she claimed a loss from the business. That loss reduced her tax liability and caused Consuela Oden to receive a tax refund in the amount of $14,534, which the IRS applied to reduce a previously assessed tax debt against her.
In January 2018, a Special Agent with IRS-Criminal Investigation issued a summons to Consuela Oden that required her to provide the IRS with records related to Complete Home Care. Consuela Oden did not comply with the summons.
A federal district court judge in the Middle District of Tennessee issued an order for Consuela Oden to show cause why she had not complied with the summons. Consuela Oden eventually provided some records in response to the summons.
In addition to conspiracy, both Ketura Oden and Consuela Oden are also charged with twelve counts of employment tax fraud. The indictment alleges that the sisters withheld federal income taxes, Medicare taxes, and Social Security taxes from their employees’ paychecks, but did not pay those taxes over to the IRS as they were required to do. Ketura Oden and Consuela Oden allegedly withheld and failed to pay to the IRS approximately $640,789 in employment taxes that they withheld from Complete Home Care employees’ paychecks.
If convicted, both defendants face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn W. Booth is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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