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Press Release

Portland Married Couple Pleads Guilty to One Million Dollar Tax Fraud Scheme

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

PORTLAND, Ore. - A Portland, Oregon married couple pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones in the District of Oregon today for conspiring to file fraudulent federal income tax returns that claimed refunds of more than $1 million.

According to the plea agreement, spouses Shawntina Ware and Brandon Leath admitted to conspiring with each other and other individuals to prepare and file more than 227 fraudulent income tax returns for calendar year 2009 during the 2010 tax filing season.  The false information on the tax returns included fictitious W-2 wage and withholding information and fraudulent refundable tax credits.

According to court documents, Leath has agreed to a sentencing recommendation of 24 months in prison for his crimes. Ware faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the theft of government funds count, and a statutory maximum sentence of 5 years in prison for both the conspiracy count and the false claims count.

Ware and Leath agreed to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service with a combined total of more than $150,000, and will each be sentenced on November 3, 2015.

The special agents of Portland, Oregon IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case.  Trial Attorneys Lori A. Hendrickson and Ryan R. Raybould of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case, with valuable assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, Oregon.

Updated February 4, 2016