Ozark Man Pleads Guilty to False Tax Claim, Advertised on Craigslist for Dependents
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Ozark, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to filing a false income tax return after he advertised on Craigslist to purchase identity information for children that he could claim as dependents as part of a larger tax fraud scheme.
Raheem L. McClain, 37, of Ozark, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the charge contained in a Feb. 23, 2016, federal indictment.
By pleading guilty today, McClain admitted that he engaged in a scheme to defraud the IRS by preparing and submitting false tax returns on behalf of himself and his girlfriend (who is not identified in court documents) between Jan. 28, 2012, and Feb. 4, 2016. McClain prepared and submitted false federal tax returns for the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 claiming dependents to which he was not entitled to claim. McClain also prepared and submitted false federal tax returns for his girlfriend for the years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 claiming dependents to which she was not entitled to claim.
For tax returns filed for the calendar years 2011, 2012 and 2013 McClain admitted that he used the personal information for three dependents from a female he met on an on-line dating website to falsely claim these children as dependents and to falsely claim refunds for himself and his girlfriend. For a tax return filed for the calendar year 2014, McClain falsely listed his grandmother as a dependent on his girlfriend’s tax return.
McClain also admitted that he caused an advertisement to be posted on Craigslist on Jan. 16, 2015, stating:
“WANTED: KIDS TO CLAIM ON INCOME TAXES - $750 (SPRINGFIELD,
IF YOU HAVE SOME KIDS YOU ARENT CLAIMING, I WILL PAY YOU A
$750 EACH TO CLAIM THEM ON MY INCOME TAX. IF INTERESTED,
REPLY TO THIS AD.”
On Feb. 3, 2015, McClain caused a false federal tax return to be electronically signed and filed in his name for 2014, which listed three dependents by name, Social Security number and supposed relationship (two sons and one daughter). He obtained the personal information for these dependents from a woman who responded to his Craigslist advertisement.
On Feb. 4, 2015, McClain caused two false federal tax returns to be filed through the mail in his name for 2012 and 2013. Each of the returns listed the same three dependents; however, on these two returns the same individuals were listed as one son and two daughters. The woman who responded to the advertisement did not authorize McClain to use the dependent information on his 2012 tax return.
On Feb. 4, 2016, McClain caused a false federal tax return to be electronically signed and filed in the name of his girlfriend for 2015, which listed the same three dependents but claimed them as one nephew and two nieces. The woman who sold the dependent information was unaware that McClain used the dependents on his girlfriend’s 2015 tax return.
The total actual tax loss for this case, including both federal and state refunds, is $21,986. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, McClain must pay restitution to the IRS and to the state of Missouri, including interest.
According to today’s plea agreement, McClain owes $597 in Missouri state income taxes for the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 for the fraudulent tax returns he filed in his own name. He also owes $806 in Missouri state income taxes for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 for the fraudulent state income tax returns he filed in his girlfriend’s name.
Under federal statutes, McClain is subject to a sentence of up to three years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Missouri Department of Revenue.
Updated April 6, 2016