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Press Release

Birmingham Businessman Sentenced To Prison For Obstruction And Submitting Fictitious Instruments To The IRS

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Birmingham business executive was sentenced to serve 48 months in prison for passing a fictitious financial instrument and obstructing the administration of the Internal Revenue laws, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr., of the Middle District of Alabama.

On September 11, 2018, a federal jury convicted Richard Lee Graham, 55, of Gardendale, Alabama, of passing a fictitious financial instrument and obstructing the administration of the internal revenue laws. Evidence presented at trial in September established for the tax years 2006 to 2009, as of 2014, Graham owed approximately $3.6 million in taxes, penalties, and interest.  To collect that tax debt, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began seizing Graham’s properties. On July 11, 2014, Graham went to the Montgomery IRS Office with a fictitious “International Bill of Exchange” in the amount of $3.6 million, along with false supporting documents, in an attempt to pay his taxes. A short time later, Graham showed up at the Birmingham IRS Office with another fake instrument of the same type and amount and attempted to use it to settle his tax debt. He also had false documents mailed to an IRS employee in an attempt to prove the legitimacy of the phony check-like instrument.

This was Graham’s second conviction for a tax related offense.  In 2006, Graham pled guilty to willfully failing to file a tax return.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence S. Coogler ordered Graham to serve five years of supervised release and to pay a $10,000 fine.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Franklin commended agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated this case, and the Alabama Department of Revenue, who provided assistance, and Trial Attorney Michael C. Boteler of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan A. Kirkpatrick of the Middle District of Alabama, who prosecuted the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website

Updated December 7, 2018

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 18-1614