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Court bars tax preparer who inflated deductions

CHARLESTON (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says a Charleston man prepared hundreds of tax returns that cheated the government out of $55 million.

A federal judge on Tuesday permanently barred Stacy Middleton from preparing federal tax returns for others.

Middleton had been preparing tax returns for more than a decade. Prosecutors say he and another man prepared returns that understated their clients’ income tax liabilities and overstated deductions and credits.

From 2008 to 2011, authorities say the men prepared about 17,000 federal returns. Of the records examined by the Internal Revenue Service, more than 90 percent needed adjustments.

In all, the IRS estimates that the U.S. Treasury lost as much as $55 million in revenue.

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