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15 April – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, U…

15 April – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Brian Wimpling, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation Division, Miami Field Office, announced today that fourteen (14) individuals have been charged in three (3) Indictments and one (1) Information with conspiracy to make and present fraudulent tax returns to the IRS, making and presenting fraudulent tax returns to the IRS, and/or preparing and assisting in the preparation and presentation of fraudulent tax returns to the IRS. To date, four (4) of the defendants have pleaded guilty to charges against them.

As alleged in the Indictments and Information, the fraudulent schemes orchestrated by these defendants typically involved the recruitment of taxpayers with promises of refunds. The defendants prepared and filed with the IRS, or were involved in the preparation and filing with the IRS, income tax returns on behalf of taxpayers that falsely represented, among other things, the income of these taxpayers, the employment of these taxpayers, and/or the taxpayers’ allowable deductions. All of this was done in order to fraudulently cause the IRS to issue much larger than warranted income tax refunds. In many instances, the taxpayers were unaware of the fraudulent nature of the income tax returns that these defendants were preparing and filing with the IRS on their behalf, and the taxpayers would usually receive only a portion of the refunds paid by the IRS. The tax fraud schemes perpetrated by these defendants involved the filing with the IRS of approximately four hundred and twenty three (423) fraudulent income tax returns during the course of several years. These returns resulted in fraudulent income tax refund claims totaling over $2,178,326. INDICTMENTS AND INFORMATION
BY THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

1. U.S. v. Cynthia Reynolds, et al.
Case No. 05-80034-Cr-HURLEY

On March 15, 2005, a federal grand jury in West Palm Beach, Florida, returned a twenty (20) count Indictment against defendants, Cynthia Reynolds, Tangela Benjamin, Kontiki Curry, Judy Guillotte, and Treva Shellman. Count one (1) of the Indictment charges defendants Reynolds, Benjamin, and Curry with conspiring to make or present fraudulent claims against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286. The Indictment alleges that for calendar tax years 1999 through 2001, the defendants recruited taxpayers to obtain their Social Security numbers and other identifying information, in order for federal income tax returns to be prepared for the recruited individuals with false claims for refunds. The scheme also involved preparing and using fraudulent Forms W-2 to support the false income information on the returns. The Indictment further alleges that the members of the conspiracy would profit by encouraging taxpayers to apply for refund anticipation loans, which would allow the taxpayer to receive a cash advance on the false claim of refund. The defendants would then take a portion of the loan proceeds.

Counts two (2) through twelve (12) of the Indictment are substantive counts charging the defendants with specific instances of filing fraudulent income tax returns with false claims for refunds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287.

During the course of the conspiracy, defendants Reynolds, Benjamin, and Curry caused approximately fifty (50) fraudulent income tax returns to be submitted to the IRS with false tax refund claims of approximately $200,000.

The Indictment also charges defendants Reynolds, Benjamin, Curry, and Guillotte with conspiring to creating counterfeit checks and recruiting others to negotiate them at area banks, businesses, and check cashing stores, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. The checks were produced using computer software and made to appear to be genuine payroll checks of legitimate companies. This scheme involved the cashing of approximately $120,000 in worthless counterfeit checks. Counts fourteen (14) through nineteen (19) charge Reynolds, Benjamin, Curry, and Guillotte with specific instances of creating and cashing these counterfeit checks, in violation of title 18, United States Code, Sections 513(a) and 2.

If convicted, the defendants face on the tax fraud conspiracy count a maximum statutory term of ten (10) years in prison, and those defendants charged with substantive fraudulent claims counts face a maximum statutory term of five (5) years in prison per count. If convicted, those defendants named in the counterfeit conspiracy count and in a substantive counterfeiting count face a maximum statutory term of five (5) years in prison on the former count and ten (10) years on each of the latter counts.
2. United States v. Senakia Canty, et al.
Case No. 05-20256-Cr-UNGARO-BENAGES

On March 30, 2005, a federal grand jury sitting in Miami, Florida, returned an Indictment charging defendants, Senakia Canty, Danielyetta Gay-Surles, Michael Albert and Mikeisha Reid, with conspiracy to make and present fraudulent claims against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286. All four (4) defendants also were charged with substantive counts of specific instances of making and presenting fraudulent claims against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287.

The Indictment alleges that between January 2002 through at least April 2002, the defendants participated in a scheme to file false federal income tax returns that contained fraudulent refund claims. The scheme involved recruiting individuals to obtain their Social Security numbers and other identifying information, in order for federal income tax returns to be prepared for the recruited individuals. Federal income tax returns were prepared and filed with false and fraudulent information relating to the individuals’ income. The scheme also involved preparing and using fraudulent Forms W-2 to support the false income information on the returns. The Indictment further alleges that the members of the conspiracy would profit by retaining a portion of the tax refunds that had been fraudulently obtained on behalf of the recruited individuals. The scheme charged in this case included the submission of approximately twenty (20) fraudulent income tax returns that resulted in false refund claims of over $166,000.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of ten (10) years on the conspiracy count and five (5) years on each of the fraudulent claims counts.

3. U.S. v. Roger C. Farrell, Jr.
Case No. 05-20296-Cr-SEITZ

On April 12, 2005, the United States Attorney’s Office filed in Miami, Florida, an Information charging defendant, Roger C. Farrell, Jr., with one (1) count of conspiracy to make and present fraudulent claims against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286. The Information alleges that from approximately January 2002 through May 2002, the defendant participated in a conspiracy to file false federal income tax returns that contained fraudulent refund claims.

The scheme involved recruiting individuals to obtain their Social Security numbers and other identifying information, in order for federal income tax returns to be prepared for the recruited individuals. Federal income tax returns would be filed with false and fraudulent information relating to the individuals’ income. The scheme also involved using fraudulent Forms W-2 to support the false income information on the returns. The Information further alleges that the members of the conspiracy would profit by retaining a portion of the tax refunds that had been fraudulently obtained on behalf of the recruited individuals.

The scheme charged in this case included the submission of approximately one hundred and seven (107) fraudulent income tax returns that resulted in false refund claims of approximately $612,326. If convicted on the charged conspiracy count, the defendant faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of ten (10) years.

4. U.S. v. Vanessa G. Faulk, et al.
Case No. 04-20707-Cr-MORENO

On April 12, 2005, a federal grand jury, sitting in Miami, Florida, returned an Indictment against defendants, Vanessa G. Faulk, James N. Faulk, Ron J. Hill, and Sheree R. Saunders, charging them with conspiracy to make and present fraudulent claims against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286. The Indictment also charges each defendant with substantive counts of specific instances of making and presenting fraudulent claims against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287. All four (4) named defendants have pleaded guilty.

The Indictment alleges that from approximately January 2001 through April 2002, the defendants participated in a conspiracy to file false federal income tax returns that contained fraudulent refund claims. Vanessa Faulk was a manager at H&R Block tax preparers in Opa Locka, Florida, where she prepared and filed numerous fraudulent tax returns. Participants in the conspiracy recruited individuals to obtain their Social Security numbers and other identifying information, in order for federal income tax returns to be prepared for the recruited individuals. Federal income tax returns were filed for the recruited taxpayers with false and fraudulent information relating to the individuals’ income and claimed deductions. As part of the scheme, the conspirators created and use fraudulent Forms W-2 to support the false income information on the returns. The members of the conspiracy would profit by retaining a portion of the tax refunds that had been fraudulently obtained on behalf of the recruited individuals.

The scheme charged in this case included the submission of approximately two hundred forty-six (246) fraudulent income tax returns that resulted in false refund claims of approximately $1,200,000.

On March 17, 2005, defendant Vanessa Faulk pleaded guilty to all counts the Indictment charged against her, including the conspiracy count and substantive counts. On March 30, 2005, defendants James Faulk and Saunders each pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the government by making and presenting false claims to the United States.

Earlier, on January 25, 2005, defendant Hill pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the government by making and presenting false claims to the United States. Hill, who cooperated with the government, was sentenced on March 31, 2005, by United States District Court Judge Federico A. Moreno to a term of thirty (30) days in prison, followed by two (2) years and eleven (11) months of supervised release. In addition, the court ordered Hill to pay $12,000 in restitution.

Vanessa Faulk, James Faulk, and Saunders are scheduled to be sentenced on May 26, 2005. The maximum statutory term of imprisonment on the conspiracy charge is ten (10) years, and the maximum statutory term of imprisonment on the substantive charges is five (5) years per count.

Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lauren Jorgensen, Lois Foster-Steers, Hugo Black, and Anita Gay, respectively.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.