The owner of Perez Enterprises, a commercial tax preparation business located in Paterson, N.J., was sentenced Thursday to 40 months in prison for filing false tax returns and aggravated identity theft.

U.S. District Judge Faith S. Hochberg also ordered John Perez, a resident of Paterson, to serve three years of supervised release and pay a $25,000 fine. In addition, Judge Hochberg ordered Perez never to prepare tax returns for others again.

“As this year’s tax filing season is in full swing, those who might consider preparing false tax returns should be aware of the extremely negative consequences as evidenced today,” said Jonathan D. Larsen, acting special agent in charge at IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Newark Field Office, in a statement. “Today’s sentencing of Mr. Perez again emphasizes that the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue our aggressive pursuit of those who would attempt to defraud America’s tax system.”

Previously, on Oct. 2, 2013, Perez pleaded guilty to a two-count information that charged him with theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft.

Perez operated a commercial tax preparation business out of his residence called Perez Enterprises. Between March 2008 and September 2010, he used the personal identifying information of his tax prep clients as well as other individuals to file fraudulent tax returns without their knowledge or consent, according to prosecutors. Perez allegedly listed false information on the returns such as wages and tax withholdings in order to obtain larger tax refunds. He then allegedly kept the tax refund money

In total, Perez prepared and filed tax returns that generated approximately $123,521 in fraudulent refunds.

The investigation was conducted by IRS-Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office, under the direction of acting special agent in charge Jonathan D. Larsen and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. The government was represented in the case by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shana Chen and Mala Harker.

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