CANADIAN CONVICTED OF TRYING TO FALSELY CLAIM LARGE TAX REFUND
Defendant Found Guilty Following Two Day Trial
DONALD J. MASON, 58, a Canadian citizen who resides in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, was convicted today in U.S. District Court in Seattle of Theft of Public Money. MASON submitted fraudulent documentation claiming he was entitled to a tax refund of more than $350,000. A check was sent to his home in Canada, but alert bank employees in Bellingham, Washington, kept the check from being cashed and most of the funds were recovered. The jury deliberated about 90 minutes before finding MASON guilty following a two day trial. When sentenced by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on August 6, 2010, MASON faces up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to records filed in the case, MASON was arrested on October 29, 2009, at the Bank of America branch in Bellingham where he tried to deposit a U.S. government check for $359,926.80. The check had been mailed to MASON’s home in Alberta, Canada, after he submitted fraudulent tax forms indicating that various financial institutions had withheld federal income tax on his behalf. Based on the phony forms, the IRS sent MASON the check. MASON’s wife had also submitted similar forms claiming more than $333,000 in income tax had been withheld. The IRS caught that fraud and sent her a letter warning about frivolous tax filings. The fake filings are part of a widely disseminated scheme called “1099-OID” fraud, based on the forms used to try to fraudulently claim a tax refund. The IRS has more information on this fraud scheme. Click here to view more information .
An alert bank employee put a hold on the funds when MASON deposited them in the Bank of America account on October 26, 2009. MASON returned to the bank over the next few days to see if the hold had been removed. He was arrested on October 29th, after the IRS informed the bank that the check had been fraudulently obtained.
The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tessa Gorman and Tom Woods.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.