NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York state tax officials are announcing the arrests and prosecutions of several tax preparers accused of cheating the state and federal governments out of millions of dollars in refunds.

Commissioner of Taxation of Finance Thomas H. Mattox said Wednesday’s announcement sends a message that tax preparers who break the law will face severe penalties.

Tax officials said one New York City tax preparer pleaded guilty to filing 100 fraudulent tax returns, many of them with fictitious dependent information. He agreed to pay restitution of $608,722 including $108,722 in tax refunds and $500,000 in penalties. His name is being withheld.

Sherrece Durrant-Gardner of Hempstead pleaded guilty to using the personal information of jailed inmates, such as Social Security numbers, to file fake returns. She was sentenced to three years’ probation.

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