Terra Dawn Ferguson, of New London, NC, pled guilty in Federal Court on one charge of employment tax fraud.
Ferguson was employed as the office manager for a pediatric office for approximately 24 years. It was Ferguson’s responsibility to collect, account for and pay to the IRS the business’ employment taxes. From 2011 to 2016, Ferguson withheld $78,937 from the employees’ paychecks but failed to turn those funds over to the IRS. The employer’s share of employment taxes in the amount of $35,472 was also not paid to the IRS. Instead, Ferguson used the money to pay her personal credit card bills, funded personal business ventures including a mountain cabin rental and a bar, paid for personal vacations and issued herself checks totaling $1.4 million from the business’ bank account.
In addition, Ferguson tried to hide her crime by preparing false income tax returns on behalf of her employer that underreported gross receipts and inflate mortgage interest deductions. The result is a loss to the IRS of $374,101.
Ferguson faces up to five years in prison, restitution and monetary penalties.