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Costa Mesa woman accused of tax fraud

A 30-year-old Costa Mesa woman was one of seven indicted Wednesday

on charges of falsifying tax returns, fraudulently seeking an

estimated $47 million in refunds from the Internal Revenue Service,

federal officials said.

A federal grand jury in Santa Ana returned a 23-count indictment

that accuses the seven defendants, including Heather Lee Chaffin of

Costa Mesa, linked to Yorba Linda's DeAngelo Tax Service and

Anaheim's Western Tax Service, of conspiring to defraud the IRS and

assisting in the filing of false tax returns that included false

deductions for charitable contributions.

Officials said the defendants charged taxpayers exorbitant fees

for their fraudulent services. They typically charged anywhere

between $300 and more than $1,700 for tax preparation services that

often took less than 30 minutes, officials said. Western Tax Service

collected about $6.2 million in tax preparation fees during the 2001

filing season, according to the indictment.

Chaffin and the other defendants are scheduled to be arraigned at

the federal court in Santa Ana on May 3.

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