Joliet tax preparer pleads guilty to filing hundreds of false returns

(JOLIET) A southwest suburban tax preparer pleaded guilty Wednesday to filing hundreds of false federal income tax returns for clients and causing the IRS to lose more than $5.3 million.

Jeffrey Shelby Jr., 31, of Joliet, pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Between 2009 and 2012, Shelby owned Shelby Investment LLC, which had locations in Joliet and Crest Hill, according to the stations.

He admitted to filing hundreds of individual income tax returns that fraudulently and intentionally reduced the tax liabilities and increased the tax refunds for his clients.

Shelby overstated and misrepresented taxpayers’ eligibility to claim tax credits, misrepresented their business income and expenses, and overstated their gifts to charity, according to the statement.

He caused the IRS to lose about $5,350,243 in tax revenue, according to prosecutors.

Shelby faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count, according to the statement.

IRS officials said the charges should serve as a reminder to taxpayers and tax preparers as tax season begins.

“While most return preparers are honest and provide excellent service, others file false returns to defraud their clients and the United States government,” James C. Lee, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS division in Chicago said in the statement.

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