A Holcomb tax preparer pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to filing false federal tax returns and agreed to pay restitution of more than $397,000, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister.

Marcelino Almaraz, 60, has pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false income tax return and one count of filing a false tax return. Almaraz, who owned La Popular, a convenience store in Holcomb, also owned Accounting Services, a business that provided tax preparation and accounting services.

An indictment issued in 2016 states that customers came to Almaraz because they had heard he prepared income tax returns that generated large federal income tax refunds.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, in one case, Almaraz prepared a return for a client claiming four grandchildren as dependents even though the children lived with the man’s wife in Mexico. In another case, Almaraz filed a false return substantially understating his own business income.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 14. Almaraz faces a penalty of up to three years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.