DEVELOPING STORY

Michael Cohen secretly taped Donald Trump in 2016

Atlanta couple duped by tax preparer


For years, Margaret Turner and her husband, William, trusted Hapeville City councilwoman Ruth Barr to do their personal taxes after a neighbor recommended her and touted Barr’s ability to get refunds. The office seemed packed with clients and the waits could be long, but they liked Barr’s work so much that William Turner eventually hired her to prepare taxes for his law practice.

But after years, the relationship frayed. An unusually high refund one year caused the Atlanta couple to grow concerned about how Barr’s work “was almost too good to be true” and exposed them to a possible audit that could be costly, William Turner said.

“This is going to blow up one day,” he recalled thinking.

Then in August 2009, Barr convinced Margaret Turner to loan her $10,000 for a grocery store Barr said she planned to open. Margaret made the loan without telling her husband, and a signed promissory note outlined a payment plan with interest.

The store never opened and Barr failed to make the scheduled loan repayments. After a year of Barr ignoring her calls, Margaret told her husband about the loan. He found the idea of a tax preparer soliciting clients for investments to be improper and unethical. He represented his wife in a lawsuit filed in October 2010 against Barr. The suit accused her of fraud, deceit and breach of fiduciary duty.

When Barr agreed to pay the money back, the couple dismissed the lawsuit in March 2011. They now use a licensed CPA to do their taxes and feel more assured with that person’s work. They are concerned someone with Barr’s track record is working as a tax preparer in Georgia.

“I’m pretty good about reading people,” Margaret Turner said. “She didn’t seem like the kind of person who would cheat you. We were fortunate to get our money back.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Top local runoff elections in metro Atlanta
Top local runoff elections in metro Atlanta

The Atlanta metro area will see a series of runoff elections on Tuesday, as several primary races in May resulted with no candidate receiving a majority of the vote. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has put together a list of some of the most important local races, from judgeships to county boards. Board of Commissioners District 7 Incumbent Gregory...
BREAKING: Alleged hate crime under investigation in Kennesaw 
BREAKING: Alleged hate crime under investigation in Kennesaw 

A Hispanic man was attacked outside a bar and Kennesaw police said Friday they are treating the case as a hate crime. The 26-year-old man was at SuBourbon Bar in the 2700 block of Summers Street between 11:50 p.m. Friday and 12:30 a.m. Saturday when two white males began making “derogatory racial remarks” toward him, authorities said...
Dog left alone in hot car at Six Flags water park
Dog left alone in hot car at Six Flags water park

A dog was left inside a hot car Thursday while its owners cooled off at a Marietta water park, police said. The dog was rescued at Six Flags White Water after temperatures inside the car surpassed 100 degrees, even with the windows cracked, according to Marietta police. “Seriously folks — this heat can kill!” police said on Facebook...
At least 17 dead in duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, officials say
At least 17 dead in duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, officials say

At least 17 people were killed and several others injured after a duck boat carrying tourists capsized Thursday night on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, according to authorities. >> Read more trending news  Update 11:40 a.m. EDT July 20: Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said Friday morning that authorities recovered four more bodies...
Cops: Nephew charged in suspicious death of aunt in Gwinnett County
Cops: Nephew charged in suspicious death of aunt in Gwinnett County

The nephew of a Gwinnett County woman found dead in a basement apartment earlier this week has been charged with her death, according to police. Police have charged David Neel Clark with felony murder, aggravated assault and financial transaction card fraud in connection with the death of Dorothy Ann D’Anna. D’Anna, 63, was found dead in...
More Stories