News and Press Releases

Defendants Each Allegedly Made More than $50,000 by Recruiting Others to File Fraudulent Returns

March 7, 2007

DONALD SHAWN VINSON, 36, of Seattle Washington, and MARK ANTHONY FORD, 39, also of Seattle, Washington are in federal custody following last week’s indictments and initial appearances in U. S. District Court in Seattle on charges related to filing false claims for tax refunds against the United States. Both men are currently scheduled to have detention hearings on Friday March 9, 2007.

Both VINSON and FORD, who were arrested yesterday in Seattle by IRS special agents, are charged with one count of Conspiracy, and 13 and 11 counts respectively of filing false claims for tax refunds with the Internal Revenue Service. The amounts claimed by VINSON total over $51,000, and involve federal income tax returns filed between January 2003, and April 2003. The amounts claimed by FORD total over $54,000, and involve federal income tax returns filed between January 2003, and February 2004.

The two indictments are unrelated, but the men used similar schemes. Both defendants allegedly recruited other people (“filers”) to file fraudulent tax returns in their own names, addresses and socials security numbers. Also, both defendants allegedly created or obtained false Forms W-2, with fabricated amounts of tax withholdings, in the names and social security numbers of the filers. Both defendants further caused the filers to claim dependents on their tax returns in order to fraudulently obtain the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). VINSON and 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.

If convicted of the conspiracy charge, which is the most serious charge in the indictments, VINSON and FORD face maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and fines of up to $1,000,000.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and is being 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.

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