Date: July 197, 2021 Contact: email@example.com Springfield, IL — West Kinioki Mpetshi, formerly of Jacksonville, Ill., was sentenced on July 16, 2021, to 33 months in federal prison, to be followed by a year-long term of supervised release, for filing false income tax returns and aiding the filing of false tax returns. At Mpetshi's sentencing hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Sue Myerscough found that Mpetshi immigrated to the United States from the Democratic Republic of Congo and shortly thereafter engaged in a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service of hundreds of thousands of dollar as a tax preparer by claiming false moving expenses and educational credits for himself and others on federal income tax returns. Mpetshi, who was able to speak and write in English, prepared tax returns for other immigrants of the Democratic Republic of Congo living in the Jacksonville area who could not read or write in English. Mpetshi, who was convicted of 30 counts of tax fraud after a 2-week jury trial, also was ordered to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $86,601. In addition, Mpetshi was ordered to pay the costs of the prosecution in the case, which totaled $74,507.77. Prior to sentencing, Mpetshi resided in Kirksville, Missouri. He is presently on bond prior to reporting to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his sentence. "There is a misconception that people convicted of tax crimes do not cause real harm and do not serve long sentences," said Acting U.S. Attorney Douglas J. Quivey. "This case shows the opposite. Our tax system is based upon voluntary compliance and those who knowingly violate the rules and short-change the United States Treasury, especially tax preparers who have a duty to assist their clients in filing accurate tax returns, will be prosecuted and held accountable." "Return preparer fraud erodes trust in the entire American taxation system; it affects not only the preparer, but the individuals who have filed false information with Internal Revenue Service," said Donald "Trey" Eakins, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office. "It is our hope that the sentence sends the strong message that tampering with the integrity of our nation's tax system will result in jail time." Agents from the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Gregory K. Harris represented the government in the prosecution.