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Press Release

Inland Empire Man Sentenced to 41 Months in Federal Prison in Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme that Cost IRS nearly $400,000

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

          LOS ANGELES – A San Bernardino County man who filed tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service that led to nearly $400,000 in fraudulent tax refunds being issued has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.

          John Metters, 53, of Fontana, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II. In addition to the prison term, Judge Wright ordered Metters to pay restitution of $391,070 to the IRS.

          Metters pleaded guilty in September to one count of making false claims to the United States and one count of theft of government money.

          “This defendant compounded his brazen tax fraud by attempting to obstruct the ensuing investigation, to no avail,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Today’s sentence reflects not only the size of the fraud, but also the defendant’s willingness to obstruct justice by discouraging witnesses from answering subpoenas to testify before the grand jury.”

          According to documents filed with the court, between 2007 and 2011, Metters operated a tax fraud scheme in which he filed federal tax returns on behalf of individuals that contained false information designed to inflate the refund paid by the IRS. In addition to reporting legitimate income and tax information, Metters included wages that had never been paid to the taxpayer. Metters supported these fraudulent claims with bogus documents from companies that either did not exist or never paid the income.

          In one instance, Metters filed a 2008 tax return that reported the actual income paid by employers, but Metters also included a fraudulent Form W-2 and a fraudulent Form 1099-R from a phony employer. As a result of the tax return that contained false information, the IRS paid out a refund of $16,071.

          “Justice was served and Mr. Metters was held accountable for his criminal activity,” stated Anthony J. Orlando, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation. “Let this sentence serve as a warning to others contemplating the same type of scheme – IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to vigorously pursue those who unjustly enrich themselves by filing false income tax returns.”

          This investigation was conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander Schwab and Sandhya Ramadas of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Updated February 7, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-026