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Group of Jackson tax return preparers sentenced to prison for seeking over $3.5 million in phony credits

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A group of Mississippi tax return preparers have been sentenced to prison after filing thousands of false returns causing more than $3.5 million to be lost.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the following people were sentenced on Friday:

  • Adam Earnest – 100 months
  • James Klish – 50 months
  • John Wells – 15 months

Each was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and to pay restitution in an amount to be determined by the court. Two other conspirators, Christopher Randell and Jonathan Barefoot, will be sentenced later this year.

A federal jury convicted Earnest, Klish, and Randell of conspiring to defraud the government by preparing false tax returns at Sunbelt Tax Service in Jackson. Earnest and Randell were also convicted of preparing such returns. Wells and Barefoot pleaded guilty before the trial to crimes related to preparing and filing false tax returns for clients.

Court records show the five men worked together to claim inflated tax refunds for clients by reporting false education credits, itemized deductions, and business profits or losses on their clients’ returns. Over the years, they prepared thousands of fraudulent returns, causing millions to be lost by the Internal Revenue Service.

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