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NORFOLK A Virginia Beach tax preparer was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.

Paul Zimmerman Jr., 49, of Virginia Beach, owned and operated Paul's Taxes and Services located on Virginia Beach Boulevard in Norfolk.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, IRS investigation showed that Zimmerman, without his clients' knowledge, would claim illegitimate rental properties, inflate expenses related to legitimate rental properties, inflate business expenses, and claim mortgage interest payments on properties without mortgages.

The falsely reported information would result in lowering his clients' tax liabilities or in generating refunds.

According to court documents, Zimmerman aided and assisted in the preparation of 35 false tax returns for 17 different clients for tax years 2006-2009.

The Department of Justice said the tax loss to the government was $102,704.

Zimmerman pleaded guilty on July 11, 2012.

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