Ash Flat Tax Preparers Convicted on 44 Counts

An Ash Flat couple, James Bruce Morris and Karen Sue Morris, were convicted Tuesday of 44 counts related to tax evasion and theft of Social Security funds in U.S. District Court in Little Rock.

The Morrises, who operated B. Morris Ltd., a tax preparation service, had been indicted on 60 counts in February. That indictment was subsequently amended to reduce the number of charges to 44. After a two-week trial and nine hours of deliberation, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.

The couple were accused of defrauding the Social Security Administration out of disability benefits, underreporting their taxable income and then using those false documents to apply for Pell grants, and filing false tax returns to allow clients to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The charges carry maximum penalties of up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. The Morrises are free pending sentencing, and a sentencing date has not been set.