West Hartford Tax Preparer Sentenced to Jail Time After Filing False Returns

A tax preparer will serve time in prison after filing false tax returns to get over $100,000 in refunds.

Hai T. Le, 44, of, West Hartford, who prepared federal income tax returns for family, friends and West Hartford community members, used prior year returns he asked his clients to provide when preparing their tax returns to prepare false amended returns he claimed were for his clients after they already received their tax refunds from the government, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut.

But when he submitted the amended returns to the Internal Revenue Service, he used his residence as the return address, according to the U.S. attorney's office. When the IRS sent refund checks to his address, he signed his clients' names and his own when cashing the checks so it looked like the clients signed the money over to him, according to the U.S. attorney's office. He deposited the checks in his accounts and used the money for his own living expenses and to buy a $50,000 certificate of deposit, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

He prepared and filed 28 fraudulent amended federal tax return forms unbeknownst to his clients between March and August of 2010, obtaining $138,826 in refunds, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Six refunds amounting to $32,752 were stopped before the check was issued, so the IRS initially lost $106,074, the U.S. attorney's office said. Le returned $77,000 of the money stolen to the IRS, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Le was sentenced to 10 days in prison and three years of supervised release. A judge also ordered him to perform 240 hours of community service and to pay off the remainder of the stolen funds in restitution.

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