5 Minnesota tax preparers charged in federal tax fraud case

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Five Minneapolis-area tax preparers have been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, according to a release from the IRS.

The 70-count indictment charges Chatonda Khofi, Ishmael Kosh, Amadou Sangaray, Francis Saygbay and David Mwangi of conspiracy to defraud the United States, aggravated identity theft, and aiding and assisting in the preparation and filing of false and fraudulent income tax returns.

The indictment claims the defendants – who all worked as tax return preparers for Primetime Tax Services, Inc. in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center – prepared and filed fraudulent state and federal income tax returns on behalf of their customers from 2007 to 2009.

During that time, Primetime Tax Services filed more than 2,000 income tax returns with the IRS, according to a December 2013 release on the indictment. In the initial indictment, Mwangi wasn't named as a defendant.

The indictment says the defendants declared false dependents, deductions and wage incomes, among others, which "qualified customers for fraudulently inflated refunds."

The indictment also states the defendants demanded a portion of their customers' refund checks in addition to the tax preparation fees the defendants had already charged the customers, the IRS says.

An initial appearance in the case is scheduled for May 7, the Pioneer Press reports.

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