TYRONE, Ga. (WSB) -- A local tax preparer is in jail, accused of cheating the state out of at least $100,000.
Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri was the only reporter with state investigators and the Fayette County DA's Office as they pulled boxes of documents, computers and confiscated cars from the woman's home Friday.
Investigators at the Department of Revenue started looking into Thessia Carpenter and her company in March.
They said she forged paperwork to get clients huge tax refunds -- money that those people may now have to pay back.
"Did you want to say anything to taxpayers? Did you commit forgery?" Viteri asked Carpenter as she was being taken into custody.
"No, I did not," she replied.
Carpenter denied forging documents for tax breaks as deputies restrained her and took her into custody outside her Tyrone home Friday morning.
Viteri watched as investigators pulled bags and boxes of evidence from the home, along with two file cabinets.
"Everybody wants a refund at the end of the year and she was getting big refunds for people. And through word of mouth she was able to build a big client base," Chief Josh Waites of the Georgia Department of Revenue told Viteri.
Waites said Carpenter's tax preparation side business, T & C Financial, was booming.
Investigators seized two Mercedes. Paperwork for one shows a down payment of $15,000, paid for, they said, with a check from T & C Financial.
This year alone the state has paid out around $200,000 in refunds to the company; refunds Waites said Carpenter falsely obtained.
"She was completely fabricating deductions and then when we asked for supporting documents she was forging those documents and sending those in to us," Waites said.
In a T & C financial Facebook post, Carpenter references the state's requests for information saying, "If you receive one please fax a copy to me…they have 200 million dollars to finance for the new falcon stadium; we the taxpayers will take the hit for this…sorry!!!!"
But investigators said Carpenter's clients are now the ones who will likely have to pay for trusting her.
"If you get a refund that's triple the amount you've gotten in the last few years, you need to ask questions," Waites said.
Investigators said this is a reminder to taxpayers to read your return before signing and work with a reputable tax preparer.
This investigation isn't over. They're still working to arrest a colleague of Carpenter's who was also allegedly involved. Carpenter is in the Fayette County Jail facing several charges including forgery.