A federal judge in Tucson has sentenced two tax preparers to prison for filing false tax returns.

U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson sentenced Imelda Arredondo and Yadira Moreno to federal prison after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government.

Arredondo, 37, also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. She was sentenced to three years and three months in prison. Moreno, 35, Arredondo’s sister, received a one-year and one-day sentence. Arredondo worked as a tax preparer in Rio Rico, and Moreno was her assistant. Federal authorities accused Arredondo of filing false income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service for the tax years 2008 to 2010.

She wrongfully inflated clients’ wage statements by adding dependents then filing the inaccurate tax returns without clients’ permission or knowledge.

The pair then pocketed the additional money from the inflated refunds.

The false refunds totaled more than $186,000.

Arredondo originally faced 25 felony counts. Moreno faced 14 felony counts.

Arredondo was ordered to pay $191,702 in restitution, including $172,353 to the U.S. Treasury. Moreno was ordered to pay $113,213 in restitution, including $93,864.47 to the Treasury.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or pmcnamara@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @pm929.