November 8, 2002


United States Attorney Glenn T. Suddaby announced that James M. Broten, John Ragano and Sean Campbell were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge David N. Hurd in Utica based on their convictions for participating in a tax and mail fraud scheme. Defendant Broten, formerly a Certified Public Accountant with offices in Norwich and Cooperstown, was found guilty following a seven day jury trial in July 2002 on 54 out of 56 felony counts charging him with conspiracy, filing false claims, theft of federal funds, filing false documents with the Postal Service, and mail fraud in a scheme involving the filing of fraudulent federal and state individual income tax returns seeking refunds totaling approximately $2,863,609.00. Defendant Broten, age 41, who recently resigned his CPA license as a result of his trial convictions, was sentenced to a term of 70 months imprisonment.

Defendant Ragano, age 40, who was convicted at trial of conspiracy and theft of public funds, was sentenced to a period of 30 months imprisonment, to run consecutively with an unrelated New York State prison sentence that he currently is serving. Defendant Cambpell, age 33, of Brooklyn, was sentenced to 5 years probation with 6 months in home confinement, based on his trial conviction for theft of public funds. The Court also imposed periods of supervised release of 3 years on defendants Broten and Ragano to follow their terms of incarceration, and ordered all three defendants to make restitution to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance in the total amount of for the $204,520.86 in refunds that were issued and received by the defendants as part of the fraudulent scheme.

The Indictment charged and the evidence at trial demonstrated that the conspirators prepared fraudulent United States and New York State individual income tax returns in the names of others, which returns requested substantial refunds for the purported taxpayers. In a number of cases, these returns utilized the names and identifying information of deceased relatives of defendant Broten's clients. The conspirators also opened and used post office boxes in the names of others, and submitted false mail forwarding change of address forms and other documents to the United States Postal Service to redirect the requested refunds to them. The evidence presented by the government at trial included expert handwriting and fingerprint identification testimony, as well as analysis of a computer seized from defendant Broten's Nowich office that uncovered returns and identification information used in returns that were filed as part of the scheme.

This case was investigated by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. It was prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York.

CONTACT:   Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert P. Storch
                       Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Grable