SEATTLE MAN SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS IN PRISON FOR TAX FRAUD SCHEME
Defendant Recruited Low-Income Women to File False Tax Returns for Unlawful Refund
MARK ANTHONY FORD, 40, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims. FORD recruited low income women to submit false forms to the IRS to get fraudulent tax refunds. FORD then kept a share of the money. At sentencing Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik also ordered $42,100 in restitution.
FORD was arrested March 6, 2007, and pleaded guilty on April 13, 2007. According to documents filed in the case, FORD recruited other people (“filers”) to file fraudulent tax returns in their own names, addresses and social security numbers. FORD created or obtained false Forms W-2, with fabricated amounts of tax withholdings, in the names and social security numbers of the filers. FORD further caused the filers to claim dependents on their tax returns in order to fraudulently obtain the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). FORD knew that these filers were not entitled to the EITC either because the named dependents were not actual dependents of the filer, or because the wages reflected on the returns were reported in fraudulent amounts permitting the unlawful application of the EITC. The amounts claimed by FORD total over $54,000, and involve federal income tax returns filed between January 2003, and February 2004.
In her sentencing memo, Assistant United States Attorney Janet Freeman noted that the women FORD recruited to the scheme will suffer long term consequences. “The irony is that some of these filers would have been entitled to lawful refunds had they filed valid returns in the first instance. Instead, they chose to follow the defendant’s illegal scheme. Now, the filers are subject to IRS audits... because they filed the false tax returns under their names and social security numbers. The IRS will require them to repay the amounts refunded and will subject them to certain penalties and interest in this regard,” Freeman wrote to the court.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Janet Freeman.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.