Former Tennessee Inmate Charged with Filing False Tax Returns While in Jail
WASHINGTON – A Tennessee grand jury has indicted Walter Allen Johnson, aka "Beau" Johnson, of Sevierville, Tenn., for filing false claims against the United States as well as conspiring to defraud the United States, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.
The indictment alleges that Johnson, while incarcerated with the Tennessee Department of Corrections, conspired to defraud the United States by submitting false tax returns claiming refunds on behalf of inmates from February of 2006 through January of 2007. The indictment further alleges that Johnson collected social security numbers from inmates and recruited other inmates to collect social security numbers for him. According to the indictment, Johnson used those social security numbers to file false income tax forms with the IRS in the names of inmates, claiming refunds to which the inmates were not entitled.
The indictment alleges that Johnson and his co-conspirators collected approximately 88 U.S. Treasury checks as a result of the returns that were filed, totaling approximately $58,651.80.
An indictment merely alleges that a crime has been committed, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum of 65 years in prison and a maximum fine of $3 million.
The case is being investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by Tax Division Trial Attorneys Michelle M. Petersen and Kathryn B. Ward.
More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts is available at www.usdoj.gov/tax/.