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Fairfield tax preparer caught filing tax returns for illegal immigrants

A Fairfield woman who prepared tax returns for illegal immigrants and filed her own false tax returns will pay the IRS more than $260,000 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Janet Benitez, 44, pleaded guilty Thursday to filing a false income tax return with the IRS. She has agreed to pay $265,839 in restitution.

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Benitez, who operated the tax prep business out of her home, submitted tax returns on behalf of 28 illegal immigrants from January 2011 to October 2016, seeking fraudulent refunds of $123,999.

Benitez also filed her own fraudulent tax returns totaling $141,840.

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“Janet Benitez admitted to owning a tax preparation business that blatantly ignored the tax laws by preparing false tax returns,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

For the same tax years, Benitez also filed false tax returns in her name and her spouse’s name, claiming income tax refunds on both of the income tax returns when she should have filed one income tax return that combined their income, which would have resulted in tax due.

Filing a false income tax return with the IRS carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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