overland park man pleads guilty to false income tax refunds
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Overland Park, Kan., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a scheme to obtain fraudulent income tax refunds.
Melvin Artis, 36, of Overland Park, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to the charge contained in an Aug. 30, 2011, federal indictment.
Artis admitted that from January 2009 to January 2010 he participated in a conspiracy to defraud the United States by preparing and filing false federal income tax returns on behalf of others that claimed refunds to which they were not entitled.
According to today’s plea agreement, conspirators caused 49 false returns to be filed that claimed a total of $359,991 in fraudulent refunds.
Artis admitted that he recruited individuals to file federal income tax returns under their own names. Co-conspirators created false and inflated Form W-2 earnings and withholdings information for those individuals, then prepared and filed the fraudulent federal tax returns electronically with the IRS. These fraudulent returns claimed tax refunds to which the individuals recruited by Artis were not entitled.
Artis received the debit cards that contained the refunds, which were mailed to addresses associated with him. Artis then accompanied the recruited individuals to obtain cash from the refunds on the debit cards.
Under federal statutes, Artis is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jess E. Michaelsen. It was investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation.