North Carolina Man Indicted for Filing False Claims for Tax Refunds and Identity Theft
A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of North Carolina has returned an indictment against a Raleigh, North Carolina, resident for one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, 17 counts of presenting false claims to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), three counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker of the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Christian Rhodes, of Raleigh, was arrested earlier today on the indictment, which alleges that Rhodes and others solicited individuals in order to prepare their federal tax returns that used false information to claim tax refunds that the individuals were not entitled to receive. The tax returns that Rhodes prepared and filed contained false wages, tax withholdings and deductions. Rhodes directed the IRS to deposit refunds electronically into bank accounts in his own name and in the names of third-party taxpayers. Rhodes also used stolen identities in order to file false claims for tax refunds.
If convicted, Rhodes faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the conspiracy count, five years in prison for each false claims count, 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count, and a maximum fine of $250,000 for each count. Rhodes also faces a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft count.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Walker commended the special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Menzer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and Trial Attorneys Lauren Castaldi and Rebecca Perlmutter 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. Additional information about tax fraud schemes to watch out for may be found on the IRS-Criminal Investigation website.
An indictment is merely a formal charge by the grand jury. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a U.S. District Court.