Northridge CPA Used The Names of Dead People To File False Tax Returns

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A Northridge CPA and tax return preparer pleaded guilty today to conspiracy in connection with using the names of dead people to file federal tax returns, according to federal


Masood Chotani got employer identification information from his client files and gave them to his co-conspirator Haroon Amin, of Upland, stated IRS officials.


Amin and another co‑conspirator, Ather Ali, of Diamond Bar, used the stolen employer data, as well as deceased people's Social Security numbers and other identification information obtained from the Internet, to prepare and file fraudulent returns, according to authorities.


According to officials, the scheme resulted in the filing of at least 250 false income tax returns with the IRS, claiming an aggregate of more than $2,000,000 in tax refunds.  Although the IRS rejected the bulk of these refund claims, a number of refund checks were issued and delivered to addresses controlled by Amin, Ali, and their co-conspirators. 


Most offenses occurred in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and Ventura counties, state federal officials.   Most of these refund checks were delivered overseas to be deposited in bank accounts in Armenia and Pakistan, authorities stated. 


Amin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States on Jan. 25, 2010 and is currently serving a 30-month prison term.  Ather Ali pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States on Feb. 12, 2010 and is serving a 37-month prison term, according to federal officials. 


Chotani is facing sentencing five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on April 23.

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The Court Reporter
Raul Hernandez has spent years writing stories about the drama that unfolds in the courtroom. Here he answers common questions, share some insights on the judicial system and passes along some of the little things that make the Ventura County courts an interesting place to be. You can contact him at