A Los Angeles-area tax preparer has pleaded guilty to tax fraud charges after he was accused of using his clients’ identities to file for large tax refunds that went to his address.

Jose Magpantay Ramirez, a Valley Village tax return preparer, pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of conspiracy to defraud the IRS, mail fraud, submitting false claims to the U.S. and aiding and abetting.

According to the plea agreement, Ramirez, 72, operated a tax preparation business out of his residence using the names “L Financial,” “PhotoPure,” and “CashSend Inc.”  From February 2006 until about March 2009, he and others fraudulently obtained income tax refund checks using his clients’ names. Ramirez admitted he prepared tax returns using his clients’ identities, claiming no tax refund due and represented to his clients that he would file the tax return with the IRS.

Thereafter, Ramirez would prepare and file with the IRS other tax returns (both Form 1040 or 1040X), in the names of his clients and without the clients’ consent.  On the subsequent tax returns, Ramirez would list, or cause others to list, bogus expenses and deductions that generated a false tax refund.  

Ramirez admitted he also directed the false refund to be mailed to his own Valley Village address and other addresses associated with him.  He then falsely endorsed or directed others to falsely endorse the fraudulent refund checks and deposited them into bank accounts in the names of his businesses. 

In total, Ramirez admitted he caused over 200 false income tax returns to be filed with the IRS, causing the IRS to issue over $1.5 million in refunds for which he was not entitled. He faces up to 150 years in prison and a fine of up to $2.75 million.