News and Press Releases

three defendants indicted for false income tax refund claims

August 30, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., woman and two Kansas residents were indicted by a federal grand jury today for their roles in a scheme to obtain fraudulent income tax refunds.

Candance McNeil, 31, of Kansas City, Melvin Artis, 36, of Overland Park, Kan., and Waltia Williams, 32, of Shawnee, Kan., were charged in a 16-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.

Today’s indictment alleges that from January 2009 to January 2010, McNeil, Artis and Williams participated in a conspiracy to defraud the United States by preparing and filing false federal income tax returns that claimed refunds to which they were not entitled. According to the indictment, they caused 49 false returns to be filed that claimed a total of $359,991 in refunds.

McNeil and Artis allegedly recruited individuals to file federal income tax returns under their own names. McNeil and Williams created false and inflated Form W-2 earnings and withholdings information for those individuals, the indictment says, 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 McNeil and Artis were not entitled.

According to the indictment, Artis received the debit cards that contained the refunds, which were mailed to addresses associated with him. Artis allegedly accompanied the recruited individuals to obtain cash from the refunds on the debit cards, keeping a majority of the refund to share between himself, McNeil and Williams.

In addition to the conspiracy, McNeil, Artis and Williams are charged with 15 counts of aiding and abetting each other to make false claims for payment of tax refunds.

Phillips cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jess E. Michaelsen. It was investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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