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Man Sentenced To Four Years In Prison For Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns In The Names Of Others

            LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A North Las Vegas man was sentenced today to four years in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $64,921 to the IRS, for his guilty pleas to filing multiple false tax returns in the names of others, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

            “Knowingly using another person’s identity without authority to steal tax refunds constitutes aggravated identity theft under federal law, and carries a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence to any other charge,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden.  “Identity theft is a serious and growing problem that we and our law enforcement partners will continue to address to ensure identity thieves are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Joseph Glendon Austin, 35, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks.  Austin pleaded guilty on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, to one count of presenting a false claim to the United States and one count of aggravated identity theft. 

“This case is part of a national sweep to target those who steal taxpayers’ identities for the purpose of obtaining fraudulent tax refunds,” said Paul Camacho, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in Nevada.  “Eradicating these crimes is a top priority at IRS.  Nationally, IRS has tripled the number of tax related identity theft cases.”

According to the guilty plea agreement, sometime before March 31, 2009, in Nevada, Austin obtained access to the personal identifying information of clients of an unnamed tax preparer.  On March 31, 2009, Austin unlawfully filed a tax return using the personal identifiers of a client of the tax preparer, but containing falsified income, withholding, and other information.  The fraudulent return requested a refund of $4,147, which Austin admitted that he received.  Austin then filed multiple more false tax returns using the identifiers of other clients of the tax preparer, and claimed refunds in the form of refund anticipation loans placed on debit cards. Austin admitted that no one gave him permission to use their identifying information.  

The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Yang.

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