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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Milwaukee Man Pleads Guilty to Filing False Income Tax Returns and Identity Theft

Gregory J. Haanstad, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that James Ainsworth (age 39) of Milwaukee pleaded guilty in federal court to filing false federal income tax returns and aggravated identity theft in connection with the filing of those returns. 

This prosecution stems from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Division that identified approximately 30 tax returns that fraudulently sought tax refunds based on false wages, tax information, and business losses.   Many of the returns provided false wage and tax information purporting to be from employment at a defunct business Ainsworth formed with his brother.  Other returns provided false wage and tax information from legitimate employers, who had never employed the indicated taxpayers.  The fraudulent refunds sought by the returns were frequently directed to bank accounts controlled by Ainsworth or his mother.   Based on the false returns filed by Ainsworth, the IRS issued more than $95,000 in tax refunds.

The identity theft charge is based on a false tax return filed by Ainsworth in the name of a woman who had applied to rent an apartment Ainsworth owned.  As part of the application process, the identity theft victim provided Ainsworth with her name, address, and social security number.   Unbeknownst to her, Ainsworth used this information, along with false income and tax information, to file a false refund claim in her name.  The return indicated that the refund should be directly deposited to a bank account maintained in the name of Ainsworth’s mother and over which he had access and control. 

Based on his guilty pleas, Ainsworth faces a minimum of two years in prison and a maximum of up to seven years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.  In addition, Ainsworth must pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $95,775.  Ainsworth is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16, 2016.

This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Monfils.

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Updated March 2, 2016