In one of the stiffest jail sentences handed down in a tax case, Dallas' Daniel A. Fisher was sentenced to serve 235 months and pay a $1 million fine.

Following a two-week trial nearly a year ago, a federal jury convicted Fisher on all 37 counts of an indictment that charged him with 34 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent tax returns, one count of bank fraud, one count of making a false statement in connection with a loan application and one count of making a false declaration before a court.

"Tax advisors who counsel their clients to cheat the IRS will be dealt with severely," said U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper, in a statement. "This sentence of 20 years without parole is one of the most severe punishments ever given to a tax cheat in the country."

Fisher's wife, Brenda, was also charged in the indictment, with one count of bank fraud and one count of making a false statement in connection with a loan application. She pleaded guilty shortly thereafter and testified for the government at trial. She was sentenced in February to time served.

Fisher was involved in a scheme to defraud the government through a tax scheme he promoted to a number of people living in the Dallas area and elsewhere, resulting in millions of dollars of fraudulent tax refund claims by the defendant's customers. The tax returns were fraudulent because they involved the creation of sham business entities and transactions aimed at eliminating taxes owed by the taxpayers.

From 2001 through 2003, Fisher specialized in targeting wealthy married couples and convincing them to restructure their tax returns. He would then set up business entities for them in order to eliminate their tax liabilities.According to the government, the case was one of the most complex tax fraud schemes ever brought to trial. The government presented 25 witnesses, including eight victim taxpayers and a number of individuals, including a CPA and a tax lawyer, who confronted the defendant about the lawfulness of the tax structure.

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