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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Selah Man Sentenced to Twenty-Four Months’ Prison and Three Years’ Court Supervision for Tax Fraud Conspiracy

Spokane – Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Matthew D. Nowlin, age 45, was sentenced for the crime of conspiring to defraud the United States by preparing and filing approximately 49 false claims for income tax refunds. Mr. Nowlin is a resident of Selah, Washington. United States District Court Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr., sentenced Matthew D. Nowlin to a twenty-four month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 3 year term of court supervision upon release from federal prison. The Court also ordered Mr. Nowlin to pay $180,000 in restitution to the IRS. Mr. Nowlin was immediately taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals following sentencing.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, Nowlin conspired with another individual to prepare approximately 49 income tax returns which contained false information and were designed to illegally obtain approximately $275,000 in refunds. Nowlin’s role in the tax fraud conspiracy was primarily as an "enforcer" to ensure that a conspirator would be paid a preparation fee ($1,000 to $2,500) from the fraudulently-obtained refunds. Nowlin also assisted a conspirator in preparing some of the false claims for tax refunds and transmitted some of the false claims to the IRS. Nowlin and a conspirator obtained the personal identifiers (including their names and Social Security Numbers and their dependents’ names and Social Security Numbers) of other individuals and then used that information to file false claims for tax refunds. As part of the scheme, Nowlin and a conspirator falsely claimed the following refundable tax credits on tax returns: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC); the Recovery Rebate Credit; and the Making Work Pay Credit. As part of the scheme, Nowlin and a conspirator fabricated earned income, reported on the tax returns as Household Help Income (HSH), at amounts to qualify customers for the EITC and other refundable credits. Nowlin’s co-conspirator charged customers $1,000 to $2,500 to prepare their tax returns. Meanwhile, the industry-standard fee for preparing returns is approximately $100 to $200.

Michael C. Ormsby said, "The privilege of living well in the United States carries certain burdens, one of which is the voluntary payment of taxes. The system only works when everyone truthfully reports their income, pays their fair share of taxes, and does not make false claims for tax refunds."

Assistant Special Agent in Charge Steve Bellis of IRS Criminal Investigation said, "Matthew Nowlin's actions effectively stole from honest, hardworking U.S. taxpayers. This is a vivid reminder during this tax filing season to use sound reason by selecting a reputable return preparer."

The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by George J.C. Jacobs, III, and Ian Garriques, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.

Press Release Number: 
14-CR-02080-SMJ
Updated April 14, 2015