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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

Thursday, March 28, 2013

East St. Louis Man Pleads Guilty To Filing A False Federal Income Tax Return

Demetrius L. Combs, 22, of East St. Louis, Illinois, pled guilty to the offense of Filing a False Federal Income Tax Return, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. The offense carries a maximum possible penalty of up to three years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for July 12, 2013.

“Folks who engaged in this scheme are thieves with computers and electronic forms as opposed to thieves with old-fashioned burglary tools. Whatever their method, whether as a person who crafts the scheme or a person who goes along with it, they should know that they will face prosecution. As I have said before, I will not abide by thieves who pick the public pockets and in that way deprive the citizens of the Southern District of Illinois.” said United States Attorney Wigginton.

Combs admitted as part of the plea that he had a false and fraudulent 2010 federal income tax return prepared by Prime Time Tax Services. Delaun Leflore and Carey Herron owned and operated Prime Time Tax Services (PTTS) located in Shiloh, Illinois. During the 2008-2011 filing seasons, Leflore and Herron used electronic software to prepare and file tax returns and they typically applied for refund anticipation loans. Leflore and Herron conspired together and with their clients to prepare false tax returns and claim fraudulent tax refunds. To accomplish this scheme, Leflore and Herron created false and fraudulent Schedule C income and expenses. The purpose of creating the false income was to maximize the earned income credit and other credits which generated large tax refunds. While meeting with their clients, Leflore and Herron discussed how to receive more money by creating self-employment income. The clients agreed to participate in the scheme in order to receive a larger tax refund. Typically, the clients were referred to Leflore and Herron and visited the tax preparation business knowing they would file fraudulent tax returns. As part of the scheme, the clients were required to pay an extra cash fee to Leflore or Herron from the tax refund received. This amount was generally $500 in cash. Following the receipt of the refund check, Leflore, Herron, or another thief escorted the clients to a local check-cashing business, Belleville Quick Stop, located in Belleville. After the client cashed the refund check, the client would pay off Leflore, Herron, or another representative of Prime Time. Leflore and Herron have already been prosecuted and are serving prison sentences for their crimes.

The Indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigations. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman R. Smith. Note: To report criminal tax fraud call the I.R.S. Criminal Investigations at (618) 622-2160 or by sending the information to the Internal Revenue Service, Fresno, CA 93888.

Updated February 19, 2015