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Preparer to Pay $1.2 Million Restitution

A Maryland man working as a tax preparer in New Jersey has been sentenced to five years in prison. Joseph Kenny Batts, age 52, of Elkridge, Md., was ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Batts, who had a prior tax fraud conviction, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and five counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns. The action of him and his co-conspirators were found to cause a tax loss of at least $1.6 million from at least 2009 through April 2015,

Batts and Damien Askew were co-owners of Tax Pro’s, a tax return preparation and payroll business in Essex County, N.J., used a variety of techniques to inflate tax refunds for clients. Batts, Askew and co-defendants Tony Russell, Angelo K. Thompson and Rudolph Sanders were accused of fabricating and inflating credits for education and child care, along with using phony deductions, such as charitable contributions and unreimbursed employee expenses, and Schedule C business losses.

Batts also used the Paid Taxpayer Identification Numbers of his co-conspirators to hide his role as a preparer, which the IRS said “was due to, among other things, his prior tax fraud conviction.”

The tax loss to the United States in excess of $1.6 million. Thompson, Askew, Sanders and Russell have previously pleaded guilty to their roles. Thompson was sentenced to 27 months in prison; Russell to 48 months in prison release. Askew and Sanders are awaiting sentencing.

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