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Homewood man pleads guilty to preparing 547 false tax returns

Updated: June 14, 2012 11:30AM

A south suburban man who ran a west suburban tax preparation business has pleaded guilty to federal tax charges, admitting he filed more than 500 false income tax returns, taking in more than $2.8 million, which he has agreed to repay.

Michael Singleton, who operated ITA Services in Bellwood, pleaded guilty Thursday, admitting he illegally received more than $2.8 million in tax revenues by failing to file income tax returns on behalf of his business, filing false personal returns and preparing false income tax returns for clients between 2006 and 2009, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Singleton has agreed to pay $2,854,800 in restitution to the IRS for taxes owed, a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Singleton, 48, of Homewood, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to two counts of willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of a false federal income tax return, the release said.

As part of his plea, Singleton he admitted preparing 547 additional false returns for clients for tax years 2004-07 overstating the number of dependents, expenses and deductions, business losses, losses from rental real estate, and educational and vocational expenses. This decreased his clients’ taxable income, reducing their tax liability and improperly qualifying them for refunds, the release said.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel set sentencing for Aug. 22. Singleton faces a maximum of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. The plea agreement includes a suggested sentencing range of 46 to 57 months in prison, plus IRS fines and interest.

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