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Crooked Iowa tax preparer sentenced to over a year in jail

justice2CEDAR RAPIDS – A self-employed tax preparer and sports official for local athletic events who prepared and filed fraudulent federal tax returns was sentenced today to over a year in federal prison.

Keith Rath, 52, from Shellsburg, Iowa, received the prison term after a May 1, 2013, guilty plea to one count of aiding and assisting the preparation and filing of a false and fraudulent tax return.

In a plea agreement, Rath, who owned and operated a tax return preparation business, as well as a sports officiating business, in Shellsburg, admitted he prepared and filed a false tax return on behalf of a client, fraudulently increasing the amount of the client’s tax return. Rath also admitted he arranged to have the fraudulent portion of the client’s tax return deposited directly into Rath’s bank account. Rath admitted he did this without the client’s knowledge. Finally, Rath admitted he filed multiple other similarly false tax returns between 2008 and 2010.

“Knowingly falsifying documents that are filed with the IRS is a crime,” said Sybil Smith, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation. “Tax return preparers have a duty to prepare returns that comply with the law and are accurate.”

Rath was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. Rath was sentenced to twenty-one months’ imprisonment to be followed by one year of supervised release. A special assessment of $100 was imposed and he was ordered to make $52,418 in restitution. There is no parole in the federal system.

Rath was released on conditions previously set by the United States District Court and is to surrender to the United States Marshal on August 22, 2013.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Morfitt and was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.

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