A California tax preparer has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for conspiracy to defraud the United States after he was found using the Social Security numbers of deceased persons and stolen employer identification information.

Haroon Amin and, another tax preparer, Ather Ali, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Riverside, Calif., in Deecmber 2008 on charges of engaging in a scheme to file false returns with the IRS using the names and Social Security numbers of deceased individuals (see Pair Indicted in $2M Dead Taxpayer Scheme). Amin pleaded guilty on Jan. 25, 2010, and Ali pleaded guilty on Feb. 12, 2010 (see Man Pleads Guilty to Filing 250 Tax Returns for Dead People).

Amin was sentenced to 30 months in prison three years of supervised released following his prison term on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Robert H. Whaley. The judge also ordered Amin to pay $258,594 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury.  Amin was remanded into custody Wednesday.

According to the indictment, in 2002 and 2003, Amin and Ali filed at least 250 fraudulent returns, falsely stating that deceased individuals had earned wages from which income tax was withheld.  The false tax returns claimed more than $2 million in income tax refunds.  While 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.  Most of the refund checks then were delivered overseas to be deposited in bank accounts in Armenia and Pakistan.

Amin admitted at his guilty plea hearing that he was a knowing participant in this scheme.  According to the indictment and statements made at the plea hearing, Amin and his co-conspirators prepared various false tax returns using deceased people’s Social Security numbers and other identification information obtained from the Internet. 

The returns that were filed as part of the scheme included fictitious Form W-2 wage and tax statements as attachments, falsely stating that the deceased people earned income from various employers.  Amin and his co-conspirators created fake W-2 Forms using employer identification numbers that they had obtained from an acquaintance of Amin’s, who was a CPA. 

At his plea hearing, Ali admitted using fake forms of identification to open mailboxes in the names of deceased people, from which the conspirators collected a number of these fraudulently obtained tax refund checks.

Ali was previously sentenced on Dec. 17, 2010, and is serving a 37-month prison term.

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