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'Fake dependents' helped tax preparer cheat IRS out of $280,930

David Menzies represented hundreds of clients, some of them here in Western New York.

He also used those clients to cheat the Internal Revenue Service out of $280,930 over a five year period ending in April 2015.

Menzies, a 51-year old Long Island man, admitted filing false tax returns on behalf of hundreds of clients as part of a plea agreement Wednesday that requires he repay the money he took from the IRS.

He also will face a recommended sentence of up to three years in prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo.

In court papers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti and Tax Division Attorney Jason M. Scheff said Menzies filed returns that claimed fake dependents and false business income and expenses.

Prosecutors also claim Menzies solicited and purchased the personal information of dependent minors from their parents so he could claim them as dependents on other returns.  They say Menzies charged his clients $250 for the use of the fraudulent dependents.

Menzies was also accused of hiring people to help in his collections. Investigators say he recruited people who would escort his clients to a check cashing outlet to insure he was paid.

His conviction is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations Division.

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