- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 26, 2015

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - The owner of a St. Louis area business and six employees have been indicted on federal fraud charges related to what authorities call a scheme to submit phony income tax returns.

Tax King owner Eyob Tilahun is accused of instructing tax return preparers at his East St. Louis location to increase customers’ IRS refunds by claiming false business and personal income in order to increase their amount of earned income credits.

An indictment released Tuesday alleges the workers had clients claim phony education expenses and fuel tax credits and customers in return would provide cash “tips” of up to $1,000.

Two employees charged in January have pleaded guilty.

Tilahun has pleaded not guilty. His business also operates in St. Louis.

A message for Tilahun’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday.

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