Something to keep in mind while cheating on your tax return this season: You do not mess with the IRS. Just ask former Costa Mesa resident Ronald Vernon Strawn, who was sentenced Monday to 30 months in prison to be followed by a year of supervised release and ordered to pay nearly $2 million in restitution for helping clients file fraudulent tax returns so they would receive large refunds.
The IRS Criminal Investigations' Los Angeles Field Office described Strawn as "a return preparer with a long career of preparing tax returns and advising clients who had tax cases with the IRS."
The way he managed to beef up refunds for clients in the 2005 and 2006 federal income tax years was by having them file returns that showed false business losses, reducing the taxpayers' taxable income by as much as $201,500 per return, according to the IRS.
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He was busted in Arizona in April 2012 and has remained in federal custody ever since.
After the U.S. Attorney's office laid out its case against Strawn, he pleaded guilty in July 2013 to three counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent tax returns.
United States District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney in Santa Ana imposed the sentence Monday morning, which included the $1,992,244 restitution order.