FEDERAL GRAND JURY INDICTS TWO WOMEN IN FRAUDULENT TAX REFUND CONSPIRACY
Defendants Allegedly Recruited Family Members and Friends to File Fraudulent Tax Returns
AMARILLO, Texas — A federal grand jury returned a 14-count indictment charging Evelyn Jean Wells and Casandra Letriece Dean with conspiracy to file false claims for refunds. In addition, the indictment charges Wells with four substantive counts of false claims for refunds and Dean with nine counts of the same. They are each scheduled to make their initial appearance in federal court, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Clinton E. Averitte, on December 20, 2011. The announcement was made today by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
The indictment alleges that from January 2007 until late January 2009, Wells and Dean, who is also known as Casandra Dean, conspired together, and with others, to defraud the U.S. by participating in a scheme to falsely claim income tax refunds from the government using electronically filed tax returns.
As part of the scheme, they filed in their own names, and caused others to file, false federal income tax returns for tax years 2006, 2007 and 2008 that claimed refunds to which they knew they were not entitled. According to the indictment, the total amount of the fraudulent claims was approximately $72,971.
The indictment alleges that the defendants recruited family and friends to file fraudulent income tax returns using their own names and social security numbers. Wells and Dean provided false W-2 Forms, containing fabricated employers’ names and fabricated amounts of tax withholdings for the individuals they recruited. These false W-2 Forms were used by commercial tax preparers to prepare false federal income tax returns which were electronically filed with the IRS on behalf of the individuals they had recruited to participate in the scheme. As a result of these submissions, the defendants and the recruited individuals claimed refunds to which they were not entitled.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, if convicted, the conspiracy count carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each of the substantive counts, upon conviction, carries a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by IRS - Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy L. Drake of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Amarillo, is in charge of the prosecution.
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