News and Press Releases

Two Charged with Multi-Million Dollar Tax Fraud Conspiracy

November 2, 2011

Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that a federal grand jury yesterday returned a 36-count indictment against Gary Crawford, Jr. a/k/a “Gary Taxes,” age 40, of Salem, New Jersey. Crawford was arrested and brought into federal custody for his initial appearance today.

The Indictment charges Crawford with conspiracy to submit false tax refund claims to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), submission of false claims, wire fraud conspiracy, and wire fraud. The federal grand jury had previously indicted Crawford’s co-conspirator, Donald L. Tillman, Jr., on September 6, 2011, charging him with conspiracy and submission of false claims for tax refunds.

The Indictment alleges that, between January and September 2009, Crawford submitted 358 fraudulent tax returns for the 2008 tax year, each of which falsely claimed the First Time Home Buyer Credit, and many of which included fabricated W-2 Forms for the listed taxpayer. The First Time Home Buyer Credit permitted a taxpayer to receive a tax credit of up to $8,000 if the individual purchased a qualifying home between April 8, 2008 and December 1, 2009. Each of these false tax returns sought refunds of between $7,000 to $11,500. While some of the refunds were blocked by the IRS, the scheme resulted in the U.S. Treasury issuing 293 refunds, amounting to over $2.2 million in tax loss.

The federal grand jury further alleged that Crawford paid co-conspirators between $500 and $2,500 in return for gathering personal identifying information of other individuals, sometimes without the person’s knowledge. Crawford then used this identifying information to file a fraudulent return in the person’s name. The Indictment states that Crawford and his co-conspirators, including Tillman, shared in the false refunds. For 105 fraudulent tax returns, Crawford had a portion of the resulting tax refunds direct deposited into bank accounts in his own name. In other cases, however, the refunds were deposited onto prepaid debit cards, or into bank accounts held by others, including Tillman and other co-conspirators. Crawford allegedly paid individuals a fee for receiving direct deposits of fraudulent tax refunds into their own bank accounts, and then withdrawing the refunds to be shared among conspiracy members.

According to the Indictment, Crawford also paid a fee to individuals for use of their residential internet accounts to electronically file tax returns. Because the tax returns were filed from multiple Internal Protocol (IP) addresses, Crawford was able to conceal the fact that the tax returns were prepared and filed by him and other members of the conspiracy. Crawford faces up to twenty years in prison on each wire fraud count, and Crawford and Tillman face up to ten years in prison for conspiracy to submit false claims.
United States Attorney Oberly praised the investigators for piecing together this complex fraud scheme stating, “the defendant and his co-conspirators are alleged to have gone to substantial lengths to avoid detection, including the use of multiple bank accounts, IP addresses, and the recruitment of others. Because of this investigation, Crawford and Tillman face substantial consequences if convicted of the charged offenses.”

The case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. “People who create elaborate schemes that have no purpose other than to mislead others and defraud the IRS run the very high risk of prosecution,” said Eric Hylton Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “IRS Criminal Investigation with the support of the United States Attorney's Office will continue to shut down fraudulent tax schemes and hold the promoters of these schemes, as well as those who assist them, accountable for their actions.”

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