Charles andre Deschanel Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on March 7, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, CHARLES ANDRE DESCHANEL, a 54-year-old resident of Billings, pled guilty to submitting false claims to the U.S. and identity theft. Sentencing has been set for June 6, 2012. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica T. Fehr, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
During the years 2009 and 2010, DESCHANEL prepared and filed with the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) fraudulent federal income tax returns in his own name and the names of other individuals for the tax years 2008 and 2009. Each of the returns contained a false form W2 purporting that the person was employed and earned an income. Each return, with the exception of his own, listed the name of a deceased individual. Each of the returns requested a refund.
In 2009, DESCHANEL filed 20 fraudulent returns for the 2008 tax year. All of the returns were typed and all contained a type written W2. These returns were all mailed to the IRS, and those with attached envelopes show that the return was mailed from Billings. One of the filed returns lists DESCHANEL's personal residence, five list DESCHANEL's landlord's residence, and the rest list a P.O. Box assigned to DESCHANEL. All 20 of the returns list Labor Ready as the employer. Investigation confirmed that none of the individuals for whom returns were filed were employed in 2008 at Labor Ready. Nineteen of the returns requested $1,038 in refund, and they all included the same overstated $300 error that was taken off prior to the IRS issuing a check. DESCHANEL electronically filed his own 2008 return claiming that he earned $60,923 from Labor Ready, when investigation revealed that he only earned an actual income of $56. All refunds issued based on these false claims were deposited into DESCHANEL's bank account at Billings.
DESCHANEL engaged in the same conduct in 2010. He filed 56 false returns for the 2009 tax year. All of the fraudulent returns contained false W2's and were mailed to the IRS requesting a refund. Of the 56 false returns DESCHANEL filed, 46 of the returns requested $857. When questioned regarding the returns, DESCHANEL claimed that he assisted individuals from the Montana Rescue Mission in filing their returns. However, the Mission advised that none of the persons named in the fraudulent returns had ever been employees or guests at the Mission.
Additionally, during the investigation law enforcement discovered that DESCHANEL would use his landlord's computer on various occasions. A search of the landlord's computer revealed several thousand matches for "social security death index," "ancestry.com" and "legacy.com." Additional analysis revealed that two names used by DESCHANEL to file false tax returns had been researched on the landlord's computer.
DESCHANEL received a return to his address in 2009 in the name of L.C. whom law enforcement confirmed died in1984. DESCHANEL also used the names and social security numbers of L.C., G.E., M.E., M.G., and S.H., all of whom died prior to 1985, to submit false tax returns and to obtain fraudulent tax refunds.
In all, DESCHANEL attempted to obtain $128,368, and caused the government an actual loss of $85,913.64.
DESCHANEL faces possible penalties of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.