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Woman sentenced for tax fraud scheme

One Ohio case currently in the news has brought to light the interesting issue of tax fraud. A woman was recently sentenced to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to avoid going to trial for a fraud case. She was also ordered to pay $93,249 in restitution.

Authorities claim that the issue started when the woman and an alleged accomplice planned to file false tax returns for people. They recruited unemployed participants with the promise of receiving money back from the government for filling out what they claimed were grant forms or job applications. Instead, participants signed false tax returns created by the duo. These used incorrect numbers that yielded higher return amounts. They filed 39 false returns that were worth $107,009 in total.

When the clients returned after being notified that the checks with their government money had arrived, the woman would sometimes drive them to get them cashed. The individuals only kept about $500 of the money and the woman and her partner reportedly kept the rest. For some of the cases, they cashed the checks themselves and never gave the money to the filers. There were 16 individuals affected by this fraud.

Individuals in Ohio who have been charged with committing some sort of tax fraud scam may be able to lessen the impact of potential sentences through planning a careful defense or negotiating with prosecutors. In this particular case, the accused woman pleaded guilty to avoid a trial. In other cases, some individuals who do choose to go to trial can be found innocent of the charges against them by presenting arguments and evidence that support a defendant's version of events.

Source: Zanesville Times Recorder, "Zanesville woman gets prison time for tax fraud," Feb. 19, 2013

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