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Press Release

Sumter Man Pleads Guilty for His Role in Fraudulent Tax Return Scheme

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

Contact Person: Benjamin Garner (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Hercules E. Baker of Sumter, South Carolina entered a guilty plea in federal court in Columbia, to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286.  United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs accepted the guilty plea and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that, beginning January 2011 and continuing to at least April 2014, Baker and others conspired to defraud the Internal Revenue Service by filing federal income tax returns that claimed false tax refunds.  During the course of the conspiracy, Baker approached third-party tax payers and persuaded them to provide their means of identification and other personal information, all for use in preparing and filing false federal income tax returns.  Members of the conspiracy then directed the Internal Revenue Service to electronically deposit fraudulently obtained refunds into various bank accounts controlled by Baker and others.

Mr. Nettles stated that the maximum penalty for Conspiring to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims is imprisonment for ten years and/or a fine of $250,000.

The case was investigated by agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations.  Assistant United States Attorney Ben Garner of the Columbia office is prosecuting the case.


Updated February 29, 2016