Call Now (800) 681-1295

Tax Preparer Gets 10-Year Prison Sentence After Filing Thousands of False Returns

Table of Contents

    As readers of our tax blog have seen highlighted time and time again, it is typical for sentencing judges to hand down serious penalties in criminal tax cases. That of 54-year-old Minneapolis man Kenneth Mwase, who was recently sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison, is the perfect example. In a Department of Justice press release, prosecutors announced that Mwase, who previously managed a tax preparation business, “pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of aggravated identity theft, and one count of failure to appear at sentencing” after preparing and filing thousands of fraudulent returns on behalf of the company’s customers. In addition to a decade-long sentence, Mwase was also ordered to serve three additional years of supervised release after leaving prison.

    Manager of Tax Prep Business Sentenced to 121 Months After Filing Fraudulent Returns

    A DOJ press release issued January 28, 2019 announced that defendant Kenneth Mwase, who also used the alias “Chatonda Khofi,” pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft (18 U.S. Code § 1028A), conspiring against the United States (18 U.S. Code § 371), and failing to appear in court. The identity theft and conspiracy charges arose from Mwase’s role, as manager and director of a Minneapolis-area tax return preparation service known as Primetime Tax Services Inc., in a scheme to file and prepare thousands of fraudulent federal and Minnesota state income tax returns for Primetime customers.

    The case traces back to 2014, when prosecutors filed a superseding indictment alleging that Mwase and four co-conspirators used Primetime as a vehicle to commit various crimes, not only against the government, but their own clients – some of whom, according to the press release, were “escorted… to a check cashing location or ATM” by Primetime personnel, who then “demanded additional cash” for their services.

    Assisted by 39-year-old Ishmael Kosh of Philadelphia, 47-year-old David Mwangi of Arlington, 36-year-old Amadou Sangaray of New York, and 43-year-old Francis Saygbay of Minneapolis, Mwase helped to prepare and file thousands of fraudulent tax returns, including approximately 2,000 federal returns in addition to roughly 1,700 Minnesota state returns, over the three-year period from 2006 to 2008. The aim of the scheme was to cause the IRS to issue inflated tax refunds, a goal the defendants pursued by reporting “false dependents, fake business income and losses, inflated deductions, inflated credits, and false filing statuses” on Primetime clients’ returns.

    Tax schemes of this nature, though illegal, are not uncommon. For instance, our criminal tax attorneys previously wrote about a Philadelphia tax preparer who was sentenced to five years in prison after using stolen information to file returns on which he claimed false dependents. As this and other cases have shown to us over and over, tax preparers face substantial prison time for filing fraudulent returns, in addition to professional sanctions. Mwase, for example, received a sentence of 121 months – to be followed by 36 further months of supervised release. In addition, he will likely be ordered to pay fines and IRS restitution.

    Depending on the circumstances, fines and restitution can cost some tax defendants millions of dollars. The fraudulent tax returns that were prepared and filed by Mwase and his co-defendants caused a government tax loss exceeding $2.5 million dollars, suggesting a substantial restitution order.

    BBB Rating

    San Francisco IRS Tax Fraud Defense Attorneys Serving Northern and Southern California

    In last year’s list of the top tax schemes, the IRS warned taxpayers of fraudulent tax preparation services that promise huge refunds – even before reviewing a single document. With tax season upon us yet again, taxpayers (and tax preparers) must proceed with caution. Tax preparer’s including CTEC certified, E.A.’s and Tax Attorneys & CPAs can be charged with conspiracy, tax evasion, assisting a false return, and other serious tax crimes for working with clients or colleagues to violate federal laws.

    If you are being investigated by the IRS, especially where your preparer is under criminal investigation, or if you or your business has been chosen for a tax audit, it is urgent that you contact an experienced IRS tax defense attorney for assistance. Serving Northern and Southern California, the Continental United States and the planet as to international tax issues, our dedicated, award-winning San Francisco IRS fraud defense lawyers have extensive experience fighting misdemeanor and felony tax charges. For a reduced-rate consultation, contact the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing online, or call (800) 681-1295 today.

    Also, we’ve expanded our offices! In addition to our offices in Irvine and Los Angeles, the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing now have offices San BernardinoSanta BarbaraPanorama CityOxnardSan DiegoBakersfieldSan Jose, San FranciscoOakland and Sacramento.


    Note: If you have concerns about the privacy of our initial or subsequent communication and are unable to easily travel to our Irvine / Orange County Main Office, consider scheduling a GoToMeeting to safely and securely establish an initial or maintain an existing attorney client relationship.  With end-to-end encryption, strong passwords and top-rated reliability, no one is messing with your meeting. To schedule a reduced rate initial consultation via GoToMeeting follow this link.   Call our office and request a GoToMeeting if you are an existing client. We are generally happy to travel to any of our appointment only satellite offices for a subsequent meeting in appropriate circumstances once a relationship is established via a signed engagement letter and the payment of an initial retainer or where enough retainer is available where a current client to cover the reasonable travel time and time required for the meeting.

    Will it cost me more to hire the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing, who’s main office and the vast majority of the firm’s staff is located in Irvine California, but an appointment only Satellite office is close to my location, as opposed to a local company?  Absolutely not!  See our policies that address this issue here:


    More Commonly Asked Tax Audit Questions

    Questions and Answers for Criminal Tax Representation

    Difference between civil and criminal fraud allegations

    Tax Help Videos

    Representing Clients from U.S. and International Locations Regarding Federal and California Tax Issues

    Main Office

    Orange County
    2601 Main St. Penthouse Suite
    Irvine, CA 92614
    (949) 681-3502

    Our headquarters is located in Irvine, CA. Our beautiful 19,700 office space is staffed full-time and always available for our clients to meet with our highly qualified and experienced staff of Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants and Enrolled Agents. We also offer virtual consultations and can travel to meet with clients in one of our satellite offices.

    Outside of our 4 hour initial consultation option, we do not charge travel time or travel expenses when traveling to one of our Satellite offices, or surrounding business districts, where it is necessary to meet personally with taxing authority personnel, make court appearances, or any in person meeting deemed necessary for the effective representation of a client. To make this as flexible, efficient, and convenient as possible, David W. Klasing is an Instrument Rated Private Pilot and Utilizes the Firms Cirrus SR22 to service client’s in California and in the Southwest by air. Offices outside these areas are serviced via commercial jet airlines. None of these costs are charged to our clients.

    Satellite Offices

    (310) 492-5583
    (760) 338-7035
    (916) 290-6625
    (415) 287-6568
    (909) 991-7557
    (619) 780-2538
    (661) 432-1480
    (818) 935-6098
    (805) 200-4053
    (510) 764-1020
    (408) 643-0573
    (760) 338-7035
    (602) 975-0296
    New Mexico
    (505) 206-5308
    New York
    (332) 224-8515
    (512) 828-6646
    Washington, DC
    (202) 918-9329
    (702) 997-6465
    (786) 999-8406
    (385) 501-5934