A Pennsylvania tax preparer has been charged with fraud after he instructed two of his clients and an undercover agent to lie to the Internal Revenue Service about their taxes.

Larry Snow, of Seward, Pa., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent individual income tax returns and corrupt endeavor to obstruct or impede the due administration of Internal Revenue Laws.

According to the 40-count indictment, between April 15, 2005 to April 15, 2009, Snow assisted in the preparation of 36 false and fraudulent income tax returns, for 10 different sets of taxpayers. During the period from Jan. 14, 2009, through June 7, 2010, Snow is alleged to have obstructed justice by telling two taxpayers and an undercover agent to lie to the IRS regarding tax returns that Snow had prepared.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence (at each of the 40 counts) of three years in prison, a fine of $250,000, one year of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.  Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

“Return preparer fraud is a priority for IRS Criminal Investigation and we have committed many resources to investigating and prosecuting these types of cases,” said Thomas Jankowski, special agent-in-charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation division’s Pittsburgh field office. "Taxpayers should be very selective in choosing a return preparer, and have confidence knowing that person will prepare accurate tax returns and safeguard their financial information."

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