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O.C. man pleads guilty to nearly $5 million tax fraud scheme

A Garden Grove man accused of cheating the government out of nearly $5 million pleaded guilty Monday to knowingly filing false tax returns.

Michael Hung Lee, 70, pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiracy to aid and assist in the preparation of false tax returns during a hearing Monday at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Lee is a tax prepare who from 2014 to 2018 owned and operated 1040 U.S. Tax Center in Garden Grove, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office statement.

As part of a plea agreement, Lee acknowledged participating in a conspiracy to file fraudulent federal income tax returns on behalf of clients in order to get refunds from the IRS.

To obtain those refunds, Lee claimed capital losses that he knew his clients didn’t approve and weren’t qualified for, according to the plea deal, which reduced their taxable income.

The IRS estimates that as a result of the scheme, there was a tax loss of at least $4.9 million.

Lee is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on Nov. 16. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he faces up to five years in federal prison.

Lee’s daughter – Mylinh Thi Lee, 50, of Garden Grove – also worked at the tax business, and already has pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 26, and faces up to three years in federal prison.

Source: Orange County Register

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