Former Germantown FEMA employee prepped false tax returns

A former Federal Emergency Management Agency employee in Germantown, Maryland, pleaded guilty Monday to preparing false tax returns.

Shanta Johnson, 44, filed fake returns from January 2013 through at least April 2016, while on the job at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to a Justice Department release.

As for the fakery: Prosecutors said Johnson listed false deductions as well as fictional businesses and business expenses, and fake education expenses, all designed to boost her clients’ tax refunds.

She also created multiple email accounts to make it seem as if the clients prepared the returns instead of listing herself as the paid tax preparer twice as IRS rules dictate.

All told, Johnson filed 194 returns.

According to a DOJ release, she socked the money she charged her clients away into more than 20 bank accounts. The DOJ said “at least some” of those returns were prepped while Johnson was at FEMA.

In all, the IRS lost $217,424 because of Johnson, federal prosecutors said.

Johnson and the government have agreed that — if her plea is accepted — she’ll serve somewhere in the area of six and 15 months in federal prison, as well as pay up.

She will be sentenced Aug. 30.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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