NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- A Suffolk man was sentenced to 40 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme that resulted in a loss of $1.6 million to the United States on Thursday.

Kenib Towns, 44, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and preparing false tax returns on June 7. Court documents stated that Towns was one of the principle tax preparers for A Plus Tax Service and NN Financial.

These businesses operated as tax preparation businesses between July 2009 and February 2014.

Towns and his co-defendants Stephanie Towns and Brenda Benn conspired to operate a business based on creating false tax returns that generated inflated refunds for their clients in order to cultivate repeat business.

According to court documents, they used methods such as claiming false education-related expenses, stating excessively high amounts of charitable contributions, and manipulating the amount of income to take advantage of certain tax credits.

The customers did not persuade or instruct the tax preparers to generate the false returns.