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Gardena man sentenced for cheating on taxes

February 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
James Otis Swift, 62, who pleaded guilty to two felony tax offenses was sentenced Monday to six years in federal prison in a scheme that cost the government $2.7 million in uncollected taxes.Authorities say Swift told clients he was a former employee of the Internal Revenue Service. Swift prepared hundreds of federal tax returns with inflated deductions for charitable contributions, business expenses, personal property taxes and home mortgage interest payments.

Swift admitted to inflated deductions of more than $12.5 million.

Prosecutors say the number is extremely conservative and does not include losses suffered by the state of California.

When some of Swift's clients received audit notices from the IRS, Swift assisted his clients in avoiding payment of their tax liability and in obstructing the audits by fabricating false charitable contribution letters and Forms 1098, which detail mortgage interest paid.

Swift was already in custody after being convicted in an unrelated case.