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PORTLAND, Maine — Ashraf Eldeknawey, a Portland tax return preparer who last August pleaded guilty to preparing false tax returns, was sentenced Monday to six months in prison and one year of supervised release.

U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby also ordered Eldeknawey, 46, to pay $97,191 in restitution to the IRS.

According to court documents and information presented in court, Eldeknawey operated a tax return preparation business located inside the Ahram Halal Market on Forest Avenue in Portland from 2015 to 2018.

He prepared fraudulent tax returns for clients that reported self-employment income they did not earn. As a result, his clients received tax refunds to which they were not entitled.

Eldeknawey also filed a 2014 tax return for himself on which he overstated the expenses associated with a painting business he operated.

The IRS Criminal Investigation Division; the FBI; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General; and Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit, investigated the case.

Attorneys from the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case.