Former Internal Revenue Service district director Jesse Ayala Cota pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States through his involvement in a tax fraud scheme promoted by the Topeka, Kansas-based organization Renaissance, The Tax People Inc.Cota admitted in his plea agreement that from 1997 through April 2002, the conspirators, through Renaissance, operated a scheme to defraud the government by marketing a program designed to sell illegal tax deductions through false and misleading representations.

"Mr. Cota was the director of Renaissance's so-called 'Tax Dream Team,'" said Eric Melgren, U.S. attorney for the District of Kansas. "Renaissance used Cota's credentials as a former district director for the Internal Revenue Service to lend the tax fraud scheme legitimacy and to induce people to join and to remain members."

"This is an example of someone implying he has 'insider information' to help others enrich themselves by buying into his bogus tax avoidance system. However, what he sold was long-term legal and financial problems for those who bought his advice," said IRS criminal investigation chief Eileen C. Mayer.

Cota faces a potential sentence of five years in prison, followed by up to three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and liability for the costs of prosecution.

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