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irsA tax preparer based in Oxnard, Calif., has been convicted of filing tax returns that claimed more than $53 million in fraudulent returns. The Internal Revenue Service said it paid out $23 million  to Rodrigo Pablo "Paul" Lozano, also known as "El Profe," 61, and his co-conspirators before spotting the scheme that had them counting out cash in a bathroom at the business.

Through his firm, Ayuda, Lozano filed more than 12,000 bogus tax returns over an 18-month period in 2011 and 2012. The government said on at least five occasions employees told him identity and W-2 documents looked suspicious and the IRS sent hundreds of warning notices. But he instructed them to continue filing the returns.

Lozano was convicted this week after a two-week jury trial for bilking the government by utilizing fake for Individual Tax Identification Numbers. ITINs are issued to undocumented workers to enable them to fill income tax returns.

Testimony showed co-conspirators provided phony identification documents such as Matricula cards supposedly issued by the Mexican government and birth certificates Lozano would us these to obtain ITINS to file three years' of income tax returns based on information from fabricated W-2s. Lozano and his allow also created three of four non-existent dependents for each return and applying for ITINs for those names.

Last modified on Tuesday, 26 July 2016
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