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Justice News

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

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tacoma Man Sentenced to Nearly Four Years in Prison for Falsely Claiming $1.8 Million In Income Tax Refunds

Used Fraudulent Documents To Submit 524 False Income Tax Returns


A Tacoma, Washington man who claimed more than $1.8 million in false income tax refunds was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 46 months in prison, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  SEENEY RISTICK, 33, pleaded guilty in June 2014.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle noted that the dollars stolen were paid into the system by hard-working tax payers and intended to support all the things that the government does.  Because of RISTICK’s actions that did not occur.

According to the plea agreement, between 2008 and 2013, RISTICK presented various fraudulent papers and forms to different tax preparation firms in Western Washington and directed the filing of bogus tax returns in his own name and the names of others, to include relatives and friends.  To facilitate the scheme, RISTICK created false income journals and falsely claimed self-employment income and various tax credits, all with the intent to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.  RISTICK typically approached the tax preparers by himself and presented fraudulent, and sometimes forged, powers of attorney, which purported to allow RISTICK to represent the named tax-filer in financial matters.  At other times, he would accompany individuals to the tax preparation firms and assist them in filing the false tax return.  RISTICK then charged the person for filing the false tax return between $500 and $1500 for the service he provided.

In all, RISTICK was involved in filing 524 fraudulent federal income tax returns, claiming a total of $1,826,944 in refunds.  The U.S. Treasury paid out $1,584,398 before the fraud was uncovered.  None of the money has been repaid.

“We want every American taxpayer to claim every entitlement, deduction, and credit that they are lawfully due,” said Special Agent in Charge Teri Alexander of IRS Criminal Investigations.  “However, when someone like Ristick undertakes to submit false returns claiming undue refunds, they effectively steal from those paying their honest share.  IRS Criminal Investigation will tirelessly pursue those who would claim false refunds thereby undermine the tax system.”

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Masada.

Updated March 20, 2015