A former Northridge-based certified public accountant who spent three years as a fugitive in Pakistan pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal tax fraud charges involving a scheme in which the personal information of dead people was used to claim more than $2 million in tax refunds.
Masood Chotani entered his plea before U.S. District Judge S. James Otero to a charge of conspiring to defraud the United States, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
An indictment unsealed last year stated that in 2002 and 2003, Chotani and two others conspired to file at least 250 false income tax returns with the IRS using names and Social Security numbers of deceased individuals, claiming more than $2 million in refunds.
Many of the illegally obtained refund checks were deposited into bank accounts within the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Republic of Armenia, federal prosecutors said.
According to court documents, most of the offenses occurred in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and Ventura counties.
Chotani faces up to five years in federal prison and at least $250,000 in fines at sentencing April 23, prosecutors said.
Co-defendants Haroon Amin and Ather Ali previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and are serving federal prison terms.