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Smyrna man to spend 6 years in prison, repay feds $1.7 million

A Smyrna man will spend more than six years in federal prison for using the identities of children to file fraudulent tax returns.

Michael Awiti, 29, was sentenced to six years and three months, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay more than $1.7 million. He pleaded guilty to the fraudulent activity May 5.

According to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, Awiti owned and operated Fidelity Financial in Smyrna. From 2010 until 2012, he filed more than 500 fraudulent income tax returns using stolen identities, many belonging to children.

He filed returns seeking refunds totaling more than $2.6 million, but some were rejected by the IRS. The actual loss to the U.S. Treasury ended up being $1,783,316.00, according to the news release.