Mar 19, 2016 1:03 PM

Former Manchester tax preparer pleads guilty to federal tax charges

CONCORD - A former Manchester resident and business owner has pleaded guilty to 19 counts of filing false tax returns and fraudulently obtaining tax refunds reports, according to United States Attorney Emily Gray Rice.

Okello Odongo, 36, of Snellville, Ga., operated a tax return preparation business, Tax Smart Solutions Co., in Manchester. Odongo was authorized by the IRS to file tax returns electronically for his customers. One of the forms he filed electronically was an Allocation of Refund Form that instructed the IRS to directly deposit refunds into specified bank accounts. The form allowed a refund to be allocated to two or more bank accounts.

In 2011 and 2012, Odongo filed false tax returns on behalf of some of his customers that fraudulently overstated the amounts of the tax refunds they were entitled to claim. Odongo also filed Allocation of Refund Forms that directed the IRS to electronically deposit the fraudulent portions of the refunds to bank accounts Odongo held or had access to.

The statutory maximum for each of the 19 charges Odongo pleaded guilty to is five years in prison. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 22.

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