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California Tax Preparer Gets 33 Months for Tax Fraud

A Cotati, California, man was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison Wednesday after pleading guilty in San Francisco federal court to tax fraud stretching from 2009 to 2015, court documents show.

Stanley Charles, 33, began his prison term immediately after sentencing and was ordered to pay over $650,000 in restitution to the IRS and money to several victims of his scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

He pleaded guilty in July to filing over 400 fraudulent tax returns in his own name and in the names of customers of his Petaluma tax-preparation businesses, Charles Tax and Financials and Charles Vision Inc.

Charles' customers were unaware of the fraudulent nature of his businesses, according to a sentencing memorandum. He would prepare one version of a tax return for his customers, while submitting a different form to the IRS on their behalf, claiming deductions they could not legally claim and directing portions of their tax refunds to himself.

Several of his customers were audited by the IRS and had to pay money the government had in fact sent to Charles, according to the sentencing document. Charles was ordered to pay several thousand dollars to each of these customers in addition to the restitution to the IRS.

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