ORLANDO, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – U.S. District Judge Wendy W. Berger today sentenced Joseph Amaya to 12 months in federal prison for aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. The court also ordered Amaya to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Amaya had pleaded guilty on February 16, 2021.

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According to court documents, from 2014 through approximately 2018, Amaya co-owned and managed Tax Machine, Inc., a tax preparation business in Kissimmee. During the life of the business, Amaya knowingly prepared and filed—and trained his employees to prepare and file—numerous false and fraudulent tax returns on behalf of Tax Machine customers. Specifically, Amaya and his employees created bogus expenses or deliberately overstated true deductible expenses (such as unreimbursed employee expenses, gas, mileage, medical and dental expenses, and gifts to charity).

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Amaya also trained his employees to include false claims of net business losses on tax returns. By including those false and fraudulent material statements on the income tax returns of Tax Machine customers, Amaya and his employees eliminated certain tax liabilities that their customers otherwise would have had, generated tax refunds that they were not entitled to, or did both. The tax loss to the IRS as a result of Amaya’s conduct is approximately $1.6 million.

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“When Joseph Amaya used his tax return preparation service, Tax Machine, Inc., to try and make a fast buck for him and his clients, he underestimated the special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation,” said Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne of IRS Criminal Investigation. “At the IRS, protecting taxpayer money is a matter we take seriously. An integral part of the agency’s mission involves detecting and catching fraudulent tax refund claims. Taxpayers looking for tax preparation information are encouraged to visit IRS.gov.”