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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Birmingham Man Sentenced To Nearly Three Years In Prison For Multi-Million Dollar Tax Scheme

BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced a Birmingham man to nearly three years in prison and ordered him to repay the government $1.3 million for his scheme to collect millions of dollars from the Internal Revenue Service on false tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and IRS Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot.

U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced DOUGLAS ERVIN DENT, 67, to 33 months in prison on 20 counts of false claims against the government. Dent must serve three years of supervised release after completing his prison sentence. A federal grand jury indicted Dent in April. He pleaded guilty to the charges in August.

"This defendant will now go to prison for the $11 million worth of false tax returns he submitted to the IRS," Vance said. "The tax fraud he perpetrated is both a crime and an affront to the millions of hard-working Americans who pay their justly owed taxes each year. Criminals who scheme to avoid paying taxes or to steal money from the U.S. Treasury will be prosecuted."

“Today’s sentence of Mr. Dent should serve as a deterrent to individuals who attempt to manipulate our nation’s tax system,” Hyman-Pillot said. “As we approach tax filing season, individuals should be aware of the consequences of filing false claims, as evidenced today. IRS Criminal Investigation will continue its aggressive pursuit of those individuals who devise schemes to defraud the federal government.”

Dent was convicted of filing 20 false income tax returns in his own name and on behalf of others between April 2008 and October 2009. Dent knew that he and the other taxpayers were not entitled to the $11 million in refunds he claimed, according to court records. Each false tax return claimed that money was earned by the taxpayer and withheld by various financial institutions on behalf of the taxpayer during the tax year, and that the taxpayer was entitled to refund of those withholdings from the IRS. In truth, no such earnings and withholdings had occurred.

Among the 20 false returns, Dent filed four in his name and one in the name of his deceased mother. As a result of one of the false returns, Dent received a tax refund of $533,673 from the IRS.

In accordance with Dent's plea agreement with the government, prosecutors recommended a 33-month prison sentence, based on Dent's cooperation in the case.

Updated March 19, 2015