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East County News Service

April 24, 2017 (El Cajon) – In a month when most Americans just paid their income taxes, the owner of Cunningham’s Tax Service in El Cajon has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for preparing phony tax returns. 

Marla Lynn Cunningham was charged with 36 counts and pled guilty to three of those. According to the Justice Department, she filed returns for her clients that reported fake business losses and phony charitable contributions, as well as bogus expenses such as medical, education and employee costs.

Her actions cheated taxpayers out of more than $1.2 million in taxes that should have been paid by her clients, NBC 7 reports.

The Justice Department announced Cunningham will also pay nearly $92,000 in restitution to the IRS, or less than 10% of the sum she bilked the government out of.  The government has not announced whether it may also go after her clients to repay money from the scam.

Her sentence includes a year of supervised release after serving her 37-month sentence.