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Justice News

Department of Justice
Tax Division

Monday, February 28, 2011

Former Tennessee Inmate Pleads Guilty To Filing False Claims

Filed False Tax Returns For Inmates And Obtained 88 Tax Refunds

WASHINGTON - Walter Allen Johnson, aka “Beau” Johnson, a former Tennessee prison inmate, has pleaded guilty to an indictment charging a conspiracy to defraud the United States by filing false claims as well as 11 counts of filing false claims against the United States, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.

According to charging documents, from February 2006 through January 2007, Johnson, while incarcerated in the Tennessee Department of Correction, conspired to defraud the United States by submitting false tax returns claiming refunds on behalf of inmates. Johnson collected Social Security numbers from inmates and recruited other inmates to collect the numbers for him. Johnson and his co-conspirators then used those numbers to file false income tax forms with the IRS in the names of inmates, claiming refunds to which the inmates were not entitled.

According to the indictment, as a result of the scheme to file false tax returns, Johnson and his co-conspirators collected approximately 88 U.S. Treasury checks totaling $58,651.80.

A sentencing date has not yet been set. If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum potential sentence of 65 years in prison and maximum fines of $3 million.

The case is being prosecuted by Tax Division trial attorneys Michelle M. Petersen and Kathryn B. Ward. The case was investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division.

Additional information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at http://www.justice.gov/tax/.

Press Release Number: 
Updated April 6, 2015