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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 1, 2017

Tax Cheat Sentenced To Prison For 15 Months

MDOC Inmate Timothy Lofton, Jr., executed a tax fraud scheme while incarcerated.

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that Timothy Lofton, Jr., age 34, received a sentence of 15 months in prison for his role in a tax fraud scheme that Lofton led while in jail. The Hon. Robert Jonker also ordered restitution in the amount of $2,319.

          In 2011, Lofton was a prisoner in the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). While there, he obtained some of his fellow inmates’ personal identification information, such as name, social security number and date of birth. Lofton shared the identification information with associates in the Benton Harbor, Michigan area. The associates then caused false federal tax returns to be filed based on the inmate identification information, without the inmates’ knowledge or permission. The federal tax returns requested tax refunds for each inmate, despite the fact that the listed income amounts were false and the inmates would never get the refunds. Although the scheme was pervasive and the IRS had initially paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars, the IRS was able to uncover the scheme in time and recover all but about $3,000.

          Acting U.S. Attorney Birge pledged his office’s resources to prosecuting tax offenses. “Tax cheats steal from our federal budget and increase the burden on the honest and responsible citizens. Tax cheats will be held accountable and we will do everything we can to get every cent back-- including asking courts to order offenders to repay what we haven’t yet recovered.”

          “The IRS aggressively pursues those who hijack others’ identities in order to file false returns”, said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel. “As demonstrated in this case, during this tax season, the IRS collaborated with our partners to further prevent, detect and resolve identity theft cases.”

END

Updated May 1, 2017