District Heights Man Sentenced to over Two Years in Prison For Filing False Tax Returns

Sought Three False Tax Refunds Totaling $3,136,635

February 21, 2012

Greenbelt, Maryland - Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Michael Leon Curley, age 36, of District Heights, Maryland, today to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for three counts of filing a false tax return. Chief Judge Chasanow also ordered Curley to pay restitution of $222,332, the amount of tax refund paid by the IRS for 2008 for which Curley was not entitled.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John A. DiCicco of the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Eric C. Hylton of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.

"As we approach tax filing season, those who might consider preparing false tax returns should be aware of the extremely negative consequences as evidenced today," said Eric Hylton, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington D.C. Field Office. "Today's sentencing of Mr. Curley again emphasizes that the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Attorney’s office will continue their aggressive pursuit of those who would attempt to defraud America's tax system."

According to facts presented at a guilty plea hearing, on February 14, 2009 Curley filed an individual federal tax form for the year 2008 falsely claiming $329,850 in federal withholdings. Based on this claim, Curley requested a $225,698 refund, which the IRS paid.

On January 30, 2010, Curley filed his 2009 individual tax returns, falsely claiming $4,189,401 in federal withholdings, and requesting a $2,749,325 refund. The IRS did not pay the requested refund. On March 22, 2010, Curley prepared and mailed an amended return for the 2009 tax year, claiming $215,810 in federal withholdings, and a $161,612 refund. The IRS did not pay the requested refund.

Of the three false tax refunds sought by Curley totaling $3,136,635, Curley would have been entitled to refunds of approximately $3,366 in 2008 and approximately $3,469 in 2009 had he filed correct tax returns with the IRS. Accordingly, Curley was not entitled to $222,332 of the 2008 tax refund paid to him.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the IRS-CI for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Mara Zusman Greenberg and Department of Justice Tax Division Trial Attorney Jeffrey Bender, who prosecuted the case.

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