A former tax return preparer from Macon, Ga., has pleaded guilty to filing a false claim for tax refund, theft of government money and aggravated identity theft.

According to the U.S. Justice Department and the IRS, Willie C. Grant, a former tax return preparer who used many of his former clients’ names and Social Security numbers to file false federal income returns in their names and without their knowledge, intentionally claimed false tax refunds and directed the IRS either to electronically deposit the false refunds into his personal or business bank accounts or to issue paper refund Treasury checks which he then cashed or deposited into his personal or business bank accounts.

Court documents claim that from 2003 to 2008 Grant owned and operated Grant Income Tax Bookkeeping and Check Cash (GIT) out of his home in Macon, eventually closing GIT in 2009. From 2006 through 2009, Grant prepared and filed false tax returns in the names of unsuspecting individuals, many of whom were elderly or disabled former clients of GIT or deceased. Documents claim that he then spent the proceeds on personal items, including cars and living expenses.

Grant admitted that that he abused his position of private trust as a professional paid tax preparer, and faces a potential maximum of 17 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Sentencing has been set for Oct. 30, 2012.

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