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Press Release

Former Maricopa County Jail Inmate Sentenced for Tax Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

     PHOENIX – On Feb. 9, 2015, Steven Scott Pearce, 57, of Phoenix, Ariz., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Diane J. Humetewa to 33 months of imprisonment for preparing false tax refund claims while incarcerated at the Maricopa County Jail. Pearce pleaded guilty on Oct. 7, 2014, to conspiracy to file false claims.

     As part of his plea agreement, Pearce admitted preparing federal income tax returns using other inmates’ names, social security numbers, and dates of birth, and then listing false income and tax withholding so that the Internal Revenue Service would issue a false refund.  Pearce admitted working with others inside and outside the jail to help prepare the tax returns, mail the returns to the Internal Revenue Service, and cash refund checks.  Pearce admitted that he prepared at least 17 tax returns claiming a total of approximately $285,000 in false tax refunds.

     Most of the false tax refunds were identified before refunds were issued, and Pearce claimed at sentencing that he did not receive any profits. At the time, Pearce was serving a five year state prison sentence for unrelated crimes. Pearce’s 33-month sentence for the tax fraud scheme will be served consecutive to his state prison sentence.

     The investigation in this case was conducted by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. The prosecution was handled by James R. Knapp, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

CASE NUMBER:           CR-14-0097-PHX-DJH 

RELEASE NUMBER:   2015-011_Pearce

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Updated February 10, 2015