A Murrieta-based unregistered tax preparer who falsified several dozen federal returns to fatten his clients’ refunds, without them knowing that he was violating the law, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of aiding in the preparation of fraudulent income tax returns.

Patrick Nathaniel McCall, 39, admitted the offenses during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles to settle a case investigated by the Internal Revenue Service.

Gee scheduled a sentencing hearing for May 29. McCall is facing up to six years in federal prison and fines totaling $500,000, according to the IRS.

According to the agency, the defendant carried out the scheme between 2012 and 2014, preparing 29 tax returns with deliberately false information to ensure his clients received greater sums back from the government.

The tax loss stemming from the bogus filings was estimated to be roughly $176,000, according to the IRS.

Agents said McCall never identified himself as a paid tax preparer on the forms, which were signed by his clients, routinely attached a Schedule C to income tax statements showing net losses incurred by the filers, and claimed refunds owed the taxpayers because of the losses.

The filers were paying him $500 for each annual submission to the IRS, as well as $20 monthly stipends for retention of his services, according to investigators.

In one case cited in court documents, a client was identified as a consultant to a non-existent business called Video Tech, showing losses for 2011 and 2012. However, the woman disavowed any knowledge of the consultancy or McCall’s use of Video Tech on her return.

The defendant, who has no documented prior felony convictions, was indicted by a federal grand jury last April.

He remains free on bond.

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