California man admits fraud and false tax returns for athletes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The head of a California tax preparation firm has admitted his role in fraud schemes totaling $25 million that included inflated tax returns for professional athletes and the exploitation of programs federal pandemic relief, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Seir Robinson Havana, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering charges, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

As CEO of Mana Tax Services, Mana introduced himself to pro athletes as a tax code expert who could get them big refunds.

He admitted as part of his plea deal to submitting tax returns on behalf of nine different athletes who grossly inflated the returns to which they were entitled. The athletes have not been named.

Havana has also submitted fraudulent loan applications under the government’s Paycheck Protection Program on behalf of several companies.

Prosecutors estimate the tax evasion and loan fraud cost taxpayers about $25 million.

Havana faces more than 20 years in federal prison while he is sentenced to 9 years.

A co-defendant, Quin Ngoc Rudin, 45, of Chino, Calif., pleaded guilty in May to wire fraud. His sentencing is scheduled for September 14.

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