prison barsA Minneapolis, Minn.-based tax preparer, who fled to South Africa to avoid sentencing on Aug. 18, 2016, was sentenced this week to 121 months in prison. Kenneth Mwase drew the sentence after pleading guilty in 2014 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the Government and one count of aggravated identity theft, and in November pleaded guilty to failure to appear.

Mwase, who passed himself off as Chatonda Khofi, 54, of St. Paul, Minn., was extradited from South Afrida in October. He had traveled on a fraudulently obtained passport from Zimbabwe.

He was described as running a fraudulent return-preparation business, Primetime Tax Services Inc.  Mwase was indicted in April 2014 in a seventy-county superseding indictment, along with co-defendants Ishmael Kosh, 39, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Amadou Sangaray, 36, of New York, New York, and Francis Saygbay, 43, of Minneapolis, and David Mwangi, 47, of Arlington, Texas.

Through three Primtime storefronts in the Minneapolis, the group was charged with filing more than 2000 fraudulent 1040 returns for 2006, 2007 and 2008, along with 1,700 phony Minnesota returns for the same years.

Primetime’s methods include returns claiming false dependents, fake business income and losses, inflated deductions, inflated credits, and false filing statuses. They also instructed clients to have refunds sent directly to Primetime and took their fees directly from the refunds and when customers arrived to obtain refund checks or debit cards, defendants sometimes escorted them to a check cashing location or ATM and demanded additional cash.

Last modified on Tuesday, 29 January 2019
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