Sneaky Old Tax Preparer|Gets 15 Years in Prison

     SAN DIEGO (CN) – A 68-year-old tax preparer who defrauded clients, friends, co-workers and the IRS of more than $515,000 was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in federal prison.
     Neil A. Thomsen stole 292 identities and when the heat turned up he moved to Mexico, where he continued his crimes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     A federal jury convicted him in December 2011 of 32 counts of mail fraud, Social Security fraud, passport card fraud and aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez also ordered him to pay $515,000 in restitution.
     The prosecutor, assistant U.S. attorney Joseph Orabona, called Thomsen’s frauds “astronomical,” and told Judge Benitez that Thomsen had shown no remorse.
     Benitez told Thomsen he had cause “incredible pain and suffering” for his victims, and said he was increasing the sentence because Thomsen had given “patently false” testimony that amounted to obstruction of justice.
     The U.S. attorney’s statement said: “According to evidence presented by the government during trial, Thomsen is a tax preparer who turned into
     an identity thief by electronically filing false and fraudulent 2008 individual tax returns between January and March 2009 using the stolen identities of his former clients, clients of his former employers, and his former co-workers. He received more than $425,000 in false tax refunds from the IRS and earned thousands of dollars in false tax preparation fees to which he was not entitled.
     “In June 2009, Thomsen fled the United States and moved to Mexico to avoid capture. Instead of staying in Mexico, Thomsen hatched another plan to defraud taxpayers and the IRS in 2010. According to court records and trial evidence, Thomsen, Sean McNaughton, Louie Torres Arias, and Keith Smith conspired to commit fraud by assuming the identities of other persons and filing false tax returns in California, Texas, Nevada, and Arizona.
     “Court records indicate that Thomsen and his co-conspirators – all of whom have pleaded guilty – submitted false tax returns seeking tax refunds totaling more than $500,000. Thomsen believed he had a fool-proof plan to defraud the taxpayers and the IRS, until, he was arrested on June 17, 2010, ending his crime spree.”
     When he was arrested that day entering the United States at San Ysidro, he had several false IDs on him, in other people’s names.

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