A former tax return preparer who worked from an office at a local gym has been sentenced to 24 months in prison for preparing false tax returns for customers.

Rodrick Williams was sentenced to the prison term by U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus, the Justice Department announced. He pleaded guilty in May 2008 to conspiracy to impede the IRS. His co-defendant, DaJuan Jackson, was convicted in November 2008, by a Greenbelt, Md., jury of eight counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false tax returns.

Williams and Jackson prepared tax returns at a branch office of American Tax Associates Inc., located in a Run ’N Shoot gym in District Heights, Md. They were the two main preparers in the branch office, which was responsible for preparing almost 1,000 tax returns per year at the height of its business in 2004.

Williams cooperated with the government, and at trial, he testified that he and Jackson devised a scheme to place false information on the tax returns of ATA clients. In particular, Williams and Jackson falsified itemized deductions and business expenses so clients could fraudulently obtain bigger refunds. Jackson has been sentenced to 51 months in prison.

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