DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A Durham dentist has pleaded guilty to tax fraud on Friday.

Sandra J. Hairston, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, says Santa Maria McKibbins pleaded guilty on Friday to filing a false tax return, which violates Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1).

Documents say she was a licensed dentist and ran a dental practice known as McKibbins Family Dentistry in Durham.

McKibbins withheld information from a tax preparer regarding income and personal use of funds related to her business, according to an investigation by the Criminal Investigation division of the Internal Revenue Service.

A review of her expenditures shows her actual income far exceeded the income she reported to the IRS. Bank records also confirmed annualized personal income that exceeded the amount McKibbins listed on her tax return.

From 2013 to 2018, Hairston says McKibbins took insurance and copayment checks made out to her business and put them in her personal checking account, which she then used for mortgage payments and payments on multiple cars.

“To attempt to evade taxes by hiding income and filing false returns, is a theft from the American public. It is a felony offense that carries severe consequences,” said Donald “Trey” Eakins, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Charlotte Field Office. “The overarching principle of IRS’s enforcement strategy is simply this: We protect the integrity of the tax system by ensuring everyone pays their fair share of tax.”

McKibbins’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 19 at 9:30 a.m. in Greensboro.

She faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison, monetary penalties and a period of supervised release of up to one year, according to a release.