A Minnetonka tax preparer has pleaded guilty to stealing clients’ identities and tax refunds, the Hennepin County attorney’s office said Wednesday.
John William Zastrow, 65, pleaded guilty late Friday to a single count of identity theft with eight or more victims that netted him more than $25,000. He also pleaded guilty to six felony counts of failure to file taxes, which allowed him to evade $50,000 in Minnesota income taxes.
“To all Minnesotans who work hard and pay your taxes … thank you,” County Attorney Mike Freeman said at a news conference in Minneapolis. “And for those who don’t … we’ll find you and prosecute you.”
Zastrow stole the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of many clients and diverted their income and property tax refunds to his own bank account, Freeman said.
When he is sentenced June 12, Zastrow is expected to receive an 18-month prison sentence on the failure to file charges and 105 months on the identity theft. However, instead of serving the additional 105 months, he will be placed on probation for 10 years. He also will be ordered to pay restitution.