BOSTON - A Michigan man was sentenced yesterday afternoon in federal court for his role in obtaining tax refunds after falsely claiming the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit.
U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV sentenced Christopher Proe, 27, to 92 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Proe, who pleaded guilty in October 2011, was ordered to pay over $1 million in restitution and a $1,700 special assessment.
During the course of his scheme, Proe and a coconspirator filed dozens of false tax returns after obtaining identity information from third parties under false pretenses and creating false W-2 forms for a fictitious company called Lawn Brothers Landscaping. For the tax year 2008 alone, Proe filed over 50 fraudulent tax returns and obtained over $500,000 in tax refunds which were directed to bank accounts which he controlled.
As a part of the investigation, 14 individuals were previously charged and convicted with committing various crimes arising from their abuse of the federal government’s stimulus program by filing false claims with IRS in which they fraudulently claimed the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit.
“The filing of false tax returns and the abuse of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit program are serious crimes. It is critically important that taxpayers who play by the rules do not end up paying for refunds to people who commit fraud and blatantly lie on the forms submitted to the IRS,” stated United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz; William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Division; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Cortez Richardson, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General, made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred M. Wyshak of Ortiz's Public Corruption Unit.