Tax preparer sentenced for filing false returns

Vernon Newson, a Las Vegas tax preparer known as "The Money Man," was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison Monday for filing a series of false tax returns that cost the government $142,494.

The sentence, handed out by U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben, was less than the 51 months behind bars federal prosecutors had sought.

But McKibben also remanded Newson, 44, to federal custody immediately rather than setting a date for him to surrender, saying the defendant "hasn't shown any remorse."

Earlier, the judge said that Newson, despite his jury conviction, believes he hasn't done anything wrong, and that "mystifies me."

Newson, who did not address the court when given an opportunity, was handcuffed by U.S. marshals and led away.

McKibben denied a request from Newson's lawyer, Assistant Federal Public Defender Richard Boulware, to allow Newson placed on house arrest for two weeks to get his affairs in order before being taken into custody.

McKibben also fined Newson $5,000 and ordered him to serve three years of supervised release and stay away from any preparation businesses after he gets out of prison. The judge did not order Newson to pay restitution to the IRS.

Federal prosecutors contended that Newson cost the government more than $1 million in taxes .

"This is one of the worst cases that ever has arisen in this district," Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Yang told McKibben.

Yang said Newson left his clients "high and dry with tax liability" after his tax preparation schemes in 2004 and 2005 were uncovered. Many of his clients were audited by the Internal Revenue Service.

After a weeklong trial in November, a federal jury convicted Newson of 22 counts of filing false tax returns, one count of obstructing enforcement of the tax laws and two counts of presenting a false claim to the United States.