ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A 65-year-old man pled guilty to counts related to preparing false federal income tax returns for a Spanish-speaking clientele, costing the government nearly $500,000 in lost tax income, according to the US Attorney for the District of Alaska.
Jose Luis Arenas now faces a maximum sentence of three years in federal prison for allegedly charging clients $100 to $600 per tax return in the years from 2013 and 2016, but never indicated that he had filed them as a paid, professional preparer. Instead, the returns appear to be filed by individual taxpayers.
He would also get improper tax refunds by inflating certain Schedule A deductions such as medical expenses and charitable giving. According to the release, Arenas would “fabricate medical expenses, unbeknownst to his clients.” In the end, the US Attorney said it cost the US government approximately $443,465 in lost taxes.
In addition to up to three years in prison, Arenas faces a fine of up to $250,000, three years of supervised release, five years of probation and restitution.
US Attorney for Alaska Bryan Schroder said in a release that tax fraud was a particularly egregious crime.
“Shady tax return preparers like this defendant not only steal tax money out of the pockets of all honest citizens, he uses his clients to file false returns, putting them at risk as well,” commented he said in a statement. “We will work closely with our partners at the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation to protect the honest tax payers in Alaska.”
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