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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 19, 2018

Former Athens County Assistant Prosecutor Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Michael (also known as Mickey) A. Prisley, 52, of Columbus, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to submit false claims for income tax refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). As part of the plea, Prisley agreed to pay more than $250,000 in restitution to the IRS.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office, announced the guilty plea entered into today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King.

According to court documents, Prisley was an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio and had served as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Athens County, Ohio from approximately August 2011 through January 2014.

Between the fall of 2009 and September 2015, Prisley conspired with others to defraud the IRS by filing hundreds of false income tax returns in an attempt to obtain fraudulent income tax refunds.

Prisley deposited fraudulently obtained income tax refund checks into his bank accounts and withdrew the funds in cash in order to pay his co-conspirators their share. Prisley also received controlled substances in exchange for cashing the fraudulently obtained income tax refund checks.

In addition, Prisley provided his co-conspirators with false power of attorney forms so that his co-conspirators could cash fraudulently obtained income tax refund checks without the listed taxpayer's knowledge.

As a result of the fictitious income tax return filings, a total of $466,842 in fraudulent income tax refunds was released by the IRS, of which Prisley assisted his co-conspirators in obtaining $250,220.99.

Conspiracy to submit false claims for income tax refunds carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

“A once trusted criminal prosecutor is now a convicted felon because he chose to line his pockets with stolen income tax refunds,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.

Co-defendants Tawnya Writesel (also known as Tawnya Rutan), Amy K. France and Denard T. Nelson were also charged in relation to this case.

France pleaded guilty in June 2016 to one count of conspiracy to submit false claims and one count of identity theft and was sentenced in January to 37 months in prison. France was also ordered to pay nearly $467,000 in restitution. Nelson pleaded guilty in September 2015 to one count of identity theft and was sentenced in May 2016 to five years of probation. He was also ordered to pay more than $87,000 in restitution.

Writesel was indicted in November 2017 on one count of conspiracy to submit false claims for income tax refunds and four counts of filing false claims for income tax refunds. Her case is pending.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the IRS Criminal Investigation, and Assistant United States Attorney Jessica H. Kim, who is prosecuting the case.

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Topic(s): 
Tax
Component(s): 
Contact: 
jennifer.thornton@usdoj.gov
Updated April 19, 2018