Conspirator Sentenced To Over 4 Years In Prison In Scheme To File False Claims Seeking Over $4 Million In Fuel Tax Credit Refunds
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Mr. June Leftwich, age 34, formerly of Forestville, Maryland, today to 55 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for mail fraud and filing a false claim in connection with a scheme to obtain fraudulent tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Titus also ordered Leftwich to pay restitution of $2,404,087.
“An integral part of the IRS-Criminal Investigation's mission involves detecting and catching fraudulent tax refund claims,” stated C. Andre' Martin, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge. “The IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue to aggressively pursue those who file false tax returns to claim tax refunds for which they are not entitled.”
According to the plea agreements of the conspirators, between 2005 and at least July 2008 Leftwich and several co-conspirators filed 154 fraudulent corporate tax returns for tax years 2003 through 2007, asserting that he or corporations purportedly owned by Leftwich or his co-conspirators had paid taxes on fuel that was used for non-taxable purposes, entitling them to obtain refunds. The returns claimed fuel tax credit refunds totaling $4,063,763 and the IRS issued refund checks totaling $1,648,335 in response to some of the claims and rejected other claims. In fact, at no time did Leftwich or any corporation owned by him or his co-conspirators purchase the fuel on which the tax refunds were claimed, nor were they entitled to any of the refunds.
Specifically, Leftwich and Telemaga Bamba, prepared 43 tax returns filed by co-conspirator Soumahoro Ben Amara claiming fuel tax credit refunds totaling $3,321,594. The IRS issued refund checks totaling $694,883 in response to some of the claims and the proceeds were shared by Amara, Leftwich and Bamba. Leftwich also prepared 13 fraudulent individual and corporate tax returns for tax years 2003 through 2006, filed by his wife, Dorian Holmes, falsely claiming fuel tax credit refunds totaling $830,384. The IRS issued refund checks totaling $499,364 and the couple used the fraudulently obtained tax refunds to purchase residential property in Houston, Texas. Judge Titus previously sentenced Holmes, age 28, to two months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for her role in the scheme, and ordered her to pay restitution of $499,364.
Judge Titus previously sentenced Telemaga Bamba, age 44, of Bowie, Maryland, to 70 months in prison for the same offenses, and ordered Bamba to forfeit two Mercedes-Benz vehicles and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and to pay restitution of $928,649. Amara, age 44, of Silver Spring, Maryland, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and filing a false claim in connection with the scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 8, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.
In a related case, on January 16, 2009, Judge Titus sentenced James Hallmon, age 44, of Fort Washington, Maryland, to 21 months in prison for filing federal corporate tax returns in which he fraudulently claimed $647,060 in fuel tax credits.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation for its investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan Su and Gina L. Simms, who prosecuted the case.