NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Wednesday marked day three of the trial for Jason Williams and Nicole Burdett, who are accused of defrauding the government of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Taking the stand in the trial included Henry Timothy, who both the defense and prosecution say played a key role in the scheme.
Back in 2021, Timothy pleaded guilty to underreporting his own income on taxes. Timothy told the court on Wednesday that he helped Williams amend his taxes after Timothy’s father-in-law introduced the two, adding that Williams asked for help after being unhappy with his previous tax preparer. Timothy later admitted to amending Williams’ tax returns from 2002 to 2009.
It’s important to note that Timothy is not a licensed CPA and said that neither Williams or Burdett ever asked for his credentials before preparing their taxes. However, Timothy also admitted to sending Williams invoices identifying him as a CPA by mistake.
Defense attorneys are working to prove that Timothy is to blame for the tax fraud scheme and that neither Williams nor Burdett had any knowledge of any criminal activity. However, prosecutors say that Williams and Burdett both provided Timothy with the personal expenses figures. Timothy told the court that the two asked him to lower what they owed in taxes. When asked why, he said to help them out.
Later, Timothy was asked how he felt after he was told his services were no longer needed, to which he replied, “Relieved because I no longer had to falsify their information.”
Earlier on Wednesday, dozens of articles of evidence were introduced by the prosecutors, most of which was Williams’ tax filings from previous years. Burdett’s attorney ensured the court noted that some of the records were dated back to when Burdett was still in high school.
Victoria Hernandez, the first witness to testify in the trial, then took the stand. A court witness coordinator with the IRS, Hernandez was asked by the prosecution to review Williams’ tax filings and records from about 10 years ago. When the prosecution was finished, defense attorney Billy Gibbens stepped in, asking Hernandez for specifics about what she has seen in the evidence presented so far by the prosecutors.
The trial, which is expected to take up to three weeks, continues on Thursday at 8:30 a.m.