Planada man sentenced for tax scam

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comDecember 11, 2012 

A Planada resident was sentenced Monday to 11 months in prison for filing false federal tax refund claims.

Rafael Duran Garcia was taken into custody after Monday's sentencing hearing before Judge Anthony W. Ishii, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Court documents show that from September 2007 to April 2009, Garcia caused 121 false federal income tax returns to be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service by using third-party names in a scheme to get tax refund checks, according to the Department of Justice. The tax returns were submitted to the IRS with W-2 forms claiming false wage and withholding information.

Garcia then had the refund checks sent to residences and addresses he controlled or had access to, according to the Department of Justice. After getting the tax refund checks, Garcia caused them to be presented to the IRS for payment through check-cashing businesses.

Garcia made false claims for more than $186,000 in federal tax refunds, but the IRS identified some of the claims as fraudulent and didn't issue refund checks, according to the Department of Justice. The IRS lost about $29,840 from the scheme, but Garcia was forced to pay that back as restitution.

Garcia's crime was classified as a felony, said Lauren Horwood, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The case was the result of an investigation by the Criminal Investigation unit of the IRS, Horwood noted. Asst. U.S. Attorney Kirk Sherriff prosecuted the case.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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