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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Grand Rapids Man Sentenced To More Than Three Years In Prison For Tax Fraud And Conspiracy To Commit Financial Institution Fraud

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that Andrew Helsel, of Grand Rapids, was sentenced to 37 months’ incarceration and $612,431 in restitution. Helsel had previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit financial institution fraud and one count of filing a false and fraudulent tax return.

          Helsel engaged in a scheme to defraud federally-insured financial institutions by making false statements on loan application documents in order to obtain loans from those institutions. He also filed fraudulent tax returns with the IRS on behalf of himself, a company he controlled, and other taxpayers. He used those ill-gotten gains to fund his lifestyle.

          "Our financial system relies on honest compliance, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will aggressively pursue individuals who seek to take advantage of our nation and its financial institutions," said Acting U.S. Attorney Birge. "During tax filing season, as always, it is important for people to have confidence that when they pay their taxes, they know their neighbors, co-workers, and tax return preparers are doing the same."

          Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel, IRS - Criminal Investigation stated, "This sentencing again emphasizes that the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Attorney’s office, and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue those who attempt to corrupt our nation’s tax system. Honest taxpayers have been reassured that no one is above the law—especially when the integrity of tax administration is at stake."

          "It is the mission of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to protect the integrity of the IRS and promote the fair administration of our federal tax system, said TIGTA Special Agent in Charge Ruben Florez. "TIGTA continues to work closely with the United States Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners to hold individuals responsible for their attempts to interfere with our nation’s tax system for personal gain."

          This case was investigated by Special Agents from IRS - Criminal Investigation and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher M. O’Connor and Sally J. Berens handled the prosecution.

END

Updated March 21, 2017