JEFFERSON — David W. Zehnder, 55, a Fort Atkinson accountant, has pleaded guilty in Jefferson County Circuit Court to four felony counts of filing fraudulent Wisconsin income tax returns and one felony count of theft.

According to the criminal complaint, Zehnder operated A-Z Productivity Inc., a tax preparation firm. He knowingly filed at least 83 false Wisconsin income tax returns by overstating the itemized deduction credits on his customers’ returns.

In doing so, Zehnder overstated the credits by $73,910, according to the complaint. Zehnder also stole, or attempted to steal, $32,312 of customers’ refunds by diverting a portion of the tax refunds into accounts he controlled.

As part of his bond conditions put in place by Jefferson County Branch IV Circuit Court Judge Ben Brantmeier, Zehnder was ordered not to prepare any state or federal tax returns for others.

This condition was extended until sentencing, scheduled for Nov. 19.

Zehnder could face up to 34 years in prison, a $65,000 fine or both. He is being represented by Watertown attorney, Joe Fischer.

Zehnder was charged by the Wisconsin Department of Justice in Jefferson County after an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s Office of Criminal Investigation.

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