Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

CNHI/SE Iowa

May 22, 2012

Tax scheme busted within prison walls

ALBANY, Ga. — Five men, including two who were operating inside a prison, have been sentenced for scheming to obtain fraudulent federal tax refund checks, which totaled more than $6.8 million.

The conspirators prepared more than 150 false returns using the names and identifying information of prison inmates and persons living in nearby communities.

“When these defendants defrauded the United States Treasury, every law-abiding citizen was victimized,” said U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore. “The very idea that this type of criminal activity was, at least in part, carried out inside a prison facility is outrageous. While we all have to accept our tax responsibilities, we don’t have to tolerate people stealing from us.”

The false W-2 forms were prepared inside the prison library. The defendants would receive the refund checks and divide the proceeds among themselves.

The conspirators received various prison sentences -- ranging from 30 to 105 months, and were ordered to pay restitution.

The case was investigated by agents of the Internal Revenue Service.

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