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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Portland, Maine Tax Return Preparer Pleads Guilty to Preparing False Tax Return

A Portland, Maine tax return preparer pleaded guilty today to one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank of the District of Maine.

According to plea documents and statements made in court, Ashraf Eldeknawey operated a tax return preparation business located inside the Ahram Halal Market in Portland during the years 2015 through 2018. Eldeknawey admitted to willfully preparing a false 2015 tax return for two clients that intentionally included overstated self-employment income in order to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and a fraudulently increased refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Eldeknawey admitted that his preparation of false tax returns caused a loss to the government between $40,000 and $100,000.

Eldeknawey faces up to three years in prison, as well as monetary penalties.  As part of the plea, Eldeknawey also agreed to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of the loss caused by his conduct. 

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Frank thanked Trial Attorneys Melissa S. Siskind and William Guappone of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.  Zuckerman and Frank also commended IRS Criminal Investigation; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General; and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit, who investigated the case. 

Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the Division’s website.

Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
19-863
Updated August 14, 2019