Florida tax preparer caught stealing money from clients

Tax season has just recently come and gone, with many people across the country now wondering how they should spend some of that "found" money. While filling out tax forms is nobody's idea of a good time, getting those returns in the mail makes the process a whole lot more enjoyable.

Unless, of course, you don't end up seeing any of that money you are owed come back to you. That was the case for 48 different people in Broward, Florida, who were part of a scheme of a tax preparer who was recently caught stealing and embezzling money from a certain number of his clients.

The man, Julio Lugo, was sentenced last week to five years and 10 months in prison, which will be followed by three years of supervised release. This was due to his identity theft scheme, which ran from roughly October 2010 to September 2012, according to the official court indictment.

Lugo owned and operated several tax preparation businesses in Florida, and used his connections in order to file fraudulent tax income returns using the names and identities of nearly 50 people, only to collect the returns and keep them for himself. This plan netted him nearly $300,000 over those two years.

As a part of his sentencing, Lugo will be forced to pay around $280,000 in restitution to the government, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida. Lugo was one of two people sentenced in this case, with his co-defendant, Jamar James, given just two years' probation.

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