Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

October 16, 2012

Denton County Man and Woman Arrested for Federal Income Tax Violations

        PLANO, Texas -  A Denton County, Texas man and woman have been arrested on charges of federal income tax violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.   

Michael Jerome Edwards, 39, and Cheri Joann Edwards, 37, both of Lewisville, Texas were indicted on Sep. 12, 2012, and charged with conspiracy to defraud the government, five counts of submitting fraudulent claims, and two counts of corrupt interference with the IRS.  Michael Edwards was arrested in The Colony, Texas and Cheri Edwards was arrested in Lewisville on Oct. 16, 2012.

According to the 8-count indictment, which was unsealed today in federal court, beginning in November 2008, Michael and Cheri Edwards are alleged to have devised a scheme to defraud the government by submitting fraudulent federal income tax returns claiming $3,860,722.00 in refunds for tax years 2006 through 2008, which far exceeded that to which they were entitled.  To facilitate the scheme, the defendant’s submitted Form 1099-Original Issue Discount (OID) to falsely identify federal income tax withholdings.  As a result of this fraudulent activity, Michael Edwards received a federal tax refund in February 2009 in the amount of $324,536.84 for the 2007 tax year.  In April 2009, Cheri Edwards received a federal tax refund in the amount of $77,451.00 for tax year 2008.         

In a similar case, Jennifer L. Upchurch, 31, of The Colony, Texas, pleaded guilty on Aug. 23, 2012, to submitting a fraudulent claim.  Upchurch was indicted on Dec. 15, 2011, and charged with submitting a fraudulent federal income tax return for tax year 2008.  Upchurch also submitted Form 1099-Original Issue Discount (OID) to falsely identify federal income tax withholdings.  According to documents presented in court, in response to her false claim, Upchurch received a tax refund of $85,843 to which she was not entitled.  Upchurch faces up to five years in federal prison.  A sentencing date has not been set. 

If convicted, Michael and Cheri Edwards each face up to 10 years in federal prison for the conspiracy charge, up to five years for each of the fraudulent claims charges, and up to three years for each of the corrupt interference with the IRS charges. 

                This case is being investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher A. Eason.

                A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.





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