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updated: 8/2/2011 8:15 AM

Man gets 18-year sentence in tax fraud conspiracy

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Associated Press

A former Chicago man who pleaded guilty to running a tax fraud ring from Israel has been sentenced to serve 18 years and four months in federal prison.

Sixty-four-year-old Marvin Berkowitz was sentenced Friday in federal court in Chicago. He was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS and various states totaling more than $10 million, and to forfeit $5 million.

Berkowitz' plea agreement says he directed a scheme to file thousands of fraudulent state and federal tax returns, using names and Social Security numbers of deceased individuals and federal inmates. He persuaded recruits to accept the tax refunds and mail them to him in Israel or turn them over to his co-conspirators.

Berkowitz sometimes misrepresented himself as a tax preparer, an attorney or a rabbi.