A professional tax preparer has received a prison sentence of 10 years and five months for her role in a scheme that allowed businesses to claim false business deductions on their income taxes.

Susan E. O’Brien, 62, a professional tax preparer who operated Mission Valley, Calif.-based The O’Brien Group, she will also serve a three-year term of supervised release and pay restitution in the amount of $113,179.

Co-defendants Robert Richard Evans, O’Brien’s business partner, and William Dean Cook were sentenced to prison terms of 78 months and 24 months, respectively. Both men will also serve a three-year term of supervised release.

In July 2003, the trio and five others were charged in a 78-count indictment with various tax crimes related to the tax years between 1996-2002. According to the indictment, for more than 15 years, O'Brien told self-employed people that they didn't have to pay taxes if they claimed large deductions and put their assets in trusts and overseas accounts.

In May, a jury convicted O’Brien and Evans of conspiracy to defraud the United States and aiding in the filing of fraudulent tax returns, resulting in a tax loss to the government of more than $1 million. O’Brien was also convicted of evading the payment of taxes on her own income.

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