Closeup of mallet being hit on stacked coins at table in courtroom

A Canadian man who led a multi-million dollar tax fraud conspiracy was sentenced to 60 months in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

According to documents filed with the court and evidence introduced at a related trial, Daveanan Sookdeo, 46, formerly of Ontario, promoted a scheme in which Canadian citizens filed false tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that fraudulently sought nearly US$10 million in income tax refunds.

After the participants in the scheme received their tax refunds, they travelled to the United States where they opened bank accounts at various financial institutions to deposit the refund checks. The coconspirators then moved the money back to Canada by wire transfers and other means. The fraudulent tax filings resulted in actual losses to the government of over US$3.5 million dollars.

Sookdeo was arrested in Trinidad and Tobago in 2017 and later extradited to the United States.  In May, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit theft of government funds, and filing a false claim against the U.S.

“Sookdeo profited from the scheme by charging his coconspirators an upfront fee for the false documents used in the scheme, as well as a percentage of any tax refunds obtained through the scheme,” the DoJ says in a news release.  He also personally filed nine false tax returns.

In addition to the prison term imposed, the court ordered  Sookdeo to serve a three-year term of supervised release and pay the IRS slightly more than $3.5 million in restitution.

Sookdeo is the fifth Canadian citizen to be convicted in connection with the scheme, and the second to be sentenced. In January 2016, Kevin Cyster was sentenced to 135 months in prison, after he was convicted following a jury trial. Three others have also pled guilty in the case.