Pembroke Man Sentenced to Prison for Conspiring to File Fraudulent Income Tax Returns
RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina John Stuart Bruce announces that today, in federal court, Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, sentenced ROBBIE GLENN REVELS, 45, of Pembroke, North Carolina, to 54 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $1,806,734 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
On August 17, 2016, REVELS pled guilty to False, Fictitious, and Fraudulent Claims for Refunds and Aggravated Identity Theft.
“Just as the filing season has ended, today’s sentencing of Robbie Revels, for filing false tax returns and identity theft, is a powerful reminder of what can happen when you decide to steal from honest taxpayers,” said Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Holloman, III. “IRS - Criminal Investigation’s Special Agents will continue their aggressive pursuit of those who attempt to defraud the United States Treasury, erode taxpayer’s confidence in the tax system and show blatant disregard for the victims of their schemes.”
In 2013, agents with the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) received information that REVELS was filing false income tax returns. As a result, IRS CI initiated an investigation into the activities of REVELS. The investigation established that between January 2011 and January 2013, REVELS engaged in a scheme to defraud the United States government of millions of dollars by filing false income tax returns.
In 2009, REVELS opened Fashion Icons, a retail-clothing store, in Pembroke, North Carolina. REVELS had multiple employees and regular customers who frequented his store. REVELS was known in the community to prepare or assist others in the preparation of tax returns. In 2011, REVELS began filing false income tax returns for the 2010 tax year. REVELS recruited several employees from his store as well as family members to participate in the scheme by using their bank accounts to receive deposits of fraudulent refunds. According to these individuals, REVELS did not pay them for their services directly, but he (REVELS) bought them clothes, food, and provided other benefits for their participation in the offense.
REVELS typically filed returns claiming $4,000 to $5,000 in refunds. These returns contained falsified W-2 wages and withholdings, medical expenses, charitable donations, and job expenses. By falsifying the reported earnings and withholdings, REVELS was typically able to take advantage of the earned income tax credit, resulting in substantial refunds.
Agents determined that over $1.5 million from these returns went directly into REVELS’s employees’bank accounts. While some of the “taxpayers” whose names were used to file the returns may have been aware of the fraudulent returns being filed in their names, most of them did not.
The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation led the investigation of this case.
Assistant United States Attorney David Bragdon prosecuted the case and Assistant United States Attorney Melissa Kessler handled the sentencing for the government.