Sentencing Set for Immigrant Advocate Convicted in Tax Case

PHOENIX (AP) — Sentencing is scheduled Wednesday for a longtime advocate for immigrants in Arizona who pleaded guilty to a felony charge stemming from his tax preparation business.

Elias Bermudez faces up to two years in prison after acknowledging that he falsely added dependents — including three children who lived in Mexico — to his clients’ tax returns to maximize refundable credits.

He led protests more than a decade ago against Arizona’s immigration laws and then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s crackdowns on immigrants.

Bermudez also owned a business that helped immigrants prepare immigration and tax documents.

He pleaded guilty last summer to one charge of assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.

Prosecutors are seeking an 18-month prison sentence and $131,000 in restitution.

Bermudez has asked for a sentence of probation.

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(FILE – In this July 14, 2006, file photo, Elias Bermudez, lower right, kneels before then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio at a protest over the lawman’s immigration crackdowns. Bermudez, who led the pro-immigrant group Immigrants Without Borders, is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in Phoenix for a felony conviction stemming from his tax preparation business. (AP Photo: Matt York)

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