3 plead guilty
to income tax

Three of five tax preparers indicted in February 2004 for filing false federal tax returns for hundreds of clients between 1997 and 1999 have pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

Rosalinda Tamayo was the latest to enter pleas in U.S. District Court yesterday in a scheme that cost the government more than $6 million in falsely claimed tax refunds.

Richard Basuel II, 34, and Dina Caleda, 42, pleaded guilty to conspiracy on Monday.

All three worked at RB Tax Service -- at one time one of the state's largest tax preparation services headed by Basuel's father, Richard Basuel Sr.

Basuel Sr., who was also indicted and another RB employee, Vivian Soong, are awaiting trial.

According to federal prosecutors, the defendants represented to clients that they could get a foreign income exemption for wages they earned in Hawaii.

Even after the Internal Revenue Service informed them that their position was frivolous, the defendants found at least two other ways to fraudulently obtain tax refunds for their clients, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Les Osborne.

The three each face a maximum of up to five years in prison, supervised release of between two and three years, and fines of up to $250,000 when sentenced Oct. 3.

All five previously were convicted in state Circuit Court on charges of preparing or aiding and abetting in the preparation of false state income tax returns.

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