A Phoenix tax preparer has pleaded guilty to filing a tax return in which he falsely claimed expenses on behalf of a client.

Mohammad Ahmadsamir Riyad, 37, pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of aiding or advising a false income tax return.

According to the plea agreement, Riyad admitted that he is a licensed tax preparer and has owned and operated a tax preparation business, MSB Riyal Legal Consultants, since 2004. He admitted that he prepared a tax return that included false expense claims. Around Jan. 28, 2010, he met with an unidentified client to prepare his 2009 federal and state tax returns. During the meeting, the client did not indicate that either he or his wife drove a car as a function of their jobs, but Riyad nevertheless claimed on the return that they drove 20,510 miles for work during the 2009 tax year, resulting in a $11,281 vehicle expense deduction. He admitted knowing there was no factual basis for the deduction.

During the meeting, the client also failed to indicate that he or his wife had incurred any business-related phone, gas or meal expenses. Nonetheless, Riyad admitted that he prepared a Schedule A claiming $14,650 in such expenses, causing the client to understate his tax liabilities by at least $2,422.

Riyad also admitted that this return was not the only instance in which he prepared a tax return for a client that included claims for business and other expenses he knew to be nonexistent or factually unsupported.

"The vast majority of tax return preparers are honest, ethical and professional,” said Brian Watson, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation division. “Cases like this give us an opportunity to remind the public to seek out a reputable preparer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If your refund seems much bigger than before, you need to ask why.”

Sentencing is scheduled for November 26. Riyad faces up to three years in prison.

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