Man Pleads Guilty to Filing False Claims Seeking over $11 Million in Fuel Tax Credit Refunds
Greenbelt, Maryland - Telemaga Bamba, age 43, of Bowie, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to 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.
“The object of these tax schemes is to defraud the government and the taxpaying public. IRS-Criminal Investigation is determined to stop these false tax refund schemes. The message this case sends is that participation in tax refund fraud schemes does not pay and you will be prosecuted,” stated C. Andre' Martin, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge.
According to the plea agreement, between 2005 and at least July 2008 Bamba and several co-conspirators filed 154 fraudulent corporate tax returns for tax years 2004 through 2007, asserting that corporations purportedly owned by Bamba or his co-conspirators had paid taxes on fuel that was used for non-taxable purposes, entitling them to refunds. The returns claimed fuel tax credit refunds totaling $11,604,405 and the IRS issued refund checks totaling $928,649 in response to some of the claims and rejected other claims. In fact, at no time did Bamba 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.
Bamba faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for mail fraud and five years in prison for making a false claim. U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus has scheduled sentencing for February 27, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation for its investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Su, who is prosecuting the case.