Georgia woman charged in widespread tax fraud case

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Georgia woman has been charged in federal court in Cleveland for her role in submitting 2,750 fraudulent tax returns for people referred to her by ministers in Arkansas and Ohio.

The government says Zinara Highsmith and others filed tax returns in 2011 for mostly low-income people referred to her by the ministers, including one from Canton in northeastern Ohio.

Investigators say the returns falsely claimed $4.8 million in stimulus-type credits that were available in 2010, with Highsmith allegedly receiving $500,000.

The 35-year-old Highsmith, of Fayettville, Georgia, was charged Thursday by information with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The ministers are not named in the information.

Nearly 1,000 returns were filed for people who lived in northeastern Ohio.

Highsmith's public defender could not be immediately reached.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.