Date: February 25, 2020
U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby sentenced Ashraf Eldeknawey to six months in prison and one year of supervised release. Judge Hornby also ordered Eldeknawey to pay $97,191 in restitution to the IRS. Eldeknawey pleaded guilty on August 14, 2019.
According to court documents and information presented in court, Eldeknawey operated a tax return preparation business located inside the Ahram Halal Market in Portland from 2015 to 2018. He prepared fraudulent tax returns for clients on which he reported self-employment income that they did not earn. As a result, the clients received tax refunds to which they were not entitled. Eldeknawey also filed a 2014 tax return for himself on which he overstated the expenses associated with a painting business he operated.
The IRS Criminal Investigation Division; the FBI; the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General; and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit, investigated the case. Attorneys from the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office prosecuted the case.