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Press Release

Indiana Mother and Son Indicted for Filing Fraudulent Tax Refund Claims

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

An indictment against an Indiana mother and son charging them with conspiracy and filing fraudulent tax refund claims was unsealed today, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Clifford D. Johnson for the Northern District of Indiana. A federal grand jury sitting in Hammond, Indiana returned the indictment on April 21.


According to the indictment, from approximately 2010 through 2014, Tracie Lynne Ellis and Terrell Sir William Franklin conspired to defraud the United States by filing fraudulent refund claims with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The indictment charges that Ellis and Franklin created the Tracie Lynne Ellis Trust and the Terrell Sir Williams Franklin Trust, neither of which had a business purpose. Ellis and Franklin allegedly filed fraudulent returns with the IRS in the names of these trusts and sought refunds to which they were not entitled. The indictment alleges that the IRS paid out one of the fraudulent refund claims totaling approximately $156,248. to the indictment, Ellis and Franklin deposited this money into a bank account and withdrew the funds over a seven-month period.


An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


If convicted, Ellis and Franklin face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the conspiracy count and five years in prison for each of the false claim counts. Ellis and Franklin also face periods of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.


Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Johnson commended special agents of IRS–Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Bell and John Mulcahy of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.


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


Updated April 28, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-473