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SHREVEPORT MAN SENTENCED TO 24 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR FAILING TO APPEAR FOR SENTENCING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2014

SHREVEPORT, La. United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Leo Cortez Vinson Jr., 40, of Shreveport, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Foote, to 24 months in prison with one year of supervised release for failing to appear for sentencing on a tax fraud charge.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea on February 20, 2014, Vinson pleaded guilty in September of 2011 to filing fraudulent tax returns and was allowed to remain free on bond.  He failed to appear for sentencing on November 30, 2011.  A warrant was issued for Vinson’s arrest, and he was arrested on October 3, 2013 in South Dakota.  Vinson had been traveling on a bus headed for Seattle, Washington.

On November 14, 2013, Vinson was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Tom Stagg, to 36 months in prison and one year of supervised release for one count of making false and fraudulent statements to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  He was also ordered to pay $6,958 in restitution..  The failure to appear and the tax fraud prison terms will run consecutively for a total of 60 months in prison.  The supervised release terms will run concurrently.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea on September 1, 2011, Vinson prepared 22 Form 1040 tax returns containing false information in early 2009 for tax year 2008.  He claimed $91,141 in refunds, but received $79,396 from the IRS.  Vinson received between $1,000 and $1,500 per tax return on average.  He would recruit inmates from different prisons to supply Social Security Numbers for the false returns and paid them $100 for their information.

“Tax fraud has consequences,” Finley stated.  “The defendant thought he could run from justice, but because of the hard work of the prosecutor and law enforcement officers, he was apprehended.  We will continue to prosecute those who try to manipulate the system for their gain.”

The IRS, U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Cytheria D. Jernigan prosecuted the cases.

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