Ohio tax preparer among 5 charged in fraud case

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A federal indictment alleges an income tax preparer and four central Ohio business owners conspired to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and helped file false tax returns.

An IRS statement says the defendants are from Columbus. Each is charged with at least one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS and multiple counts of helping to prepare and file false tax returns.

Investigators say the tax preparer, 39-year-old Fatma Ali, created false tax documents between 2008 and 2012. Investigators say the other defendants underreported their income, and the fraudulent filings enabled people to receive tax credits for which they weren't actually eligible.

A message was left late Wednesday for Ali's attorney.

The government says the defendants could face prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines if convicted.