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Judge sentences Keys tax preparer to five years in prison

The 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form for 2018.
The 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form for 2018. AP

A federal judge Monday sentenced a Florida Keys tax preparer to five years in prison and ordered to pay almost $15 million in restitution to the government.

Prosecutors say Pedro C. Rodriguez, 51, who operated JC Marr Tax Services in Marathon, filed fraudulent tax returns on behalf of his clients allowing them to reap thousands of dollars in refunds to which they were not entitled. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement Monday that his scheme bilked the Internal Revenue Service out of $14.5 million.

A large part of Rodriguez’s strategy was to create fictitious itemized deductions for his clients and fraudulent education and energy credits, according to the statement.

It’s not clear from the original complaint or the press release if Rodriguez’s clients were in on the plan or if he acted alone. He typically filed to the IRS electronically and often gave clients copies of returns that did not show his clients’ false credits he filed, prosecutors said.

A grand jury indicted him in August on 20 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. Federal agents arrested him in October.

In January, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to two counts of the indictment. Each count carries a maximum sentence of three years, so he faced 60 years in prison if he took his chances with a jury.

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