gavel.jpgA Daly City tax preparer has pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco to four counts of preparing false tax returns for clients that claimed fraudulent exemptions and credits.

Editha Bonifacio, 62, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan Illston Thursday to preparing false tax returns for four clients in 2005 and 2006.

Bonifacio was originally charged in an indictment earlier this year with preparing a total of 54 false tax returns for clients between 2004 and 2008, as well as two additional counts of submitting false returns for herself for 2005 and 2007.

Prosecutors agreed to drop the other charges in exchange for the guilty plea on four counts.

The indictment alleged the false items included the number of exemptions claimed, child tax credits, child and dependent care expenses, earned income credits, IRA deductions, student loan interest deductions and education credits.

Bonifacio will be sentenced by Illston on Nov. 6.

Each of the four counts carries a possible maximum sentence of three years in prison, but the actual penalty will be determined after consideration of federal sentencing guidelines.

The guilty plea averts a trial that was scheduled to begin on Aug. 2.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service spokeswoman Arlette Lee said the amount of restitution Bonifacio must pay will be determined at the time of sentencing.

Lee said that in such cases, the IRS normally conducts audits of the people whose returns allegedly contained false claims, and seeks to recoup the correct payments from the people in whose name the return was filed.

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