A Bronx tax preparer has been sentenced to 63 months in prison for preparing false tax returns using the identities of dead children, while another preparer in Southern California faces prison time for claiming up to 20 non-existent children as dependents.

Davis Jackson was sentenced Wednesday to five years and three months in prison for preparing false tax returns that generated more than $1 million in bogus refunds for clients. According to prosecutors, Jackson, 57, fraudulently increased his clients' refunds by inventing phony businesses, inflating deductions, and creating fake dependents using the personal information of deceased children. He ran his tax preparation business out of his home.

He was convicted in April of 11 counts of aiding and assisting the preparation of false tax returns and one count of corruptly endeavoring to impede the tax laws, after a one-week jury trial (see Bronx Preparer Used Children’s SSNs to File False Tax Returns). He was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon.

In addition to the prison term, Judge McMahon held Jackson responsible for $60,515 in restitution, and ordered him to serve one year of supervised release following his prison sentence. The judge also prohibited him from engaging in work related to tax preparation, as a special condition of supervised release.

In imposing sentence, McMahon told Jackson, “You have no right to cheat the people of the United States of money... You are a thief.” McMahon added that Jackson had shown an “utter lack of remorse” for his fraud and that the sentence was “appropriate to send a message to the community that this behavior will not be tolerated.”

Separately, last week, another tax preparer in the Los Angeles area pleaded guilty to claiming 20 fictitious children as her dependents, all born on the same day.

Norma Coronel, 40, of Coronel, Calif., pleaded guilty last Friday in a federal district court to three felony counts—aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent federal income tax returns, fraudulently using Social Security numbers obtained with false information, and theft of government property.

Coronel pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Manuel Real, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for November 28. She faces up to 18 years in prison for the three felony counts. However, when she was charged last month in a 35-count indictment, she faced up to 143 years in prison (see Tax Preparer Faces up to 143 Years in Prison).

In her plea agreement, Coronel admitted that in 2003 she applied for and obtained Social Security numbers for at least 20 fictitious children that she falsely claimed had been born to her at a Los Angeles hospital on Dec. 11, 2002. Using the bogus identities, Coronel prepared and filed fraudulent federal tax returns for family members and friends that claimed dependent deductions and sought unwarranted refunds.

She admitted in the plea agreement that she had frequently directed the Internal Revenue Service to send the unwarranted refunds to her own residence or to accounts that she controlled. Coronel either failed to provide her clients with copies of the returns that she had filed, or gave them copies of fake returns that had never been filed. As a result, the taxpayers were not aware that Coronel had filed fraudulent returns in their names or that Coronel was using the returns to obtain the refunds for her own benefit.

Coronel said in the plea agreement that as a result of her filing of the false tax returns the government suffered losses totaling $309,164.

In addition to the potential 18-year prison term, at sentencing she faces a maximum fine of $750,000. Coronel has agreed to make full restitution to the United States.

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