Two California residents have been indicted for filing over $2 million in false tax refund claims using the names and Social Security numbers of dead people, with help from a CPA.

Haroon Amin of Upland, Calif., and Ather Ali of Diamond Bar, Calif., were arrested on charges that they conspired to defraud the United States, made various false claims for income tax refunds, and made and subscribed false income tax returns.

A federal grand jury in Riverside, Calif., returned a 50-count indictment charging the two men on Dec. 3. The indictment alleges that in 2002 and 2003 the pair filed at least 250 returns, falsely stating that the deceased people earned wages from which income tax was withheld.

The indictment further alleges that, although the IRS rejected the bulk of these refund claims, a number of refund checks were issued and delivered to addresses controlled by Amin, Ali and their co-conspirators, including various mailboxes opened by Ali using false forms of identification. According to the indictment, most of these refund checks then were delivered overseas to be deposited in bank accounts in Armenia and Pakistan.

The indictment alleges that Amin and Ali got the deceased people's Social Security numbers and other identification information from the Internet. The indictment asserts that they attached fictitious Form W-2 wage and tax statements to the returns, stating that the deceased people earned income from various employers. Amin and Ali allegedly created the false W-2 forms using employer identification numbers that Amin had obtained from an acquaintance who was a CPA.

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