Man sentenced to federal prison for filing hundreds of false tax returns

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The IRS says it is reviewing millions of returns and determining who is due a refund for tax payment on unemployment income. (Getty Images)

The IRS says it is reviewing millions of returns and determining who is due a refund for tax payment on unemployment income. (Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Florida man has been sentenced to over four years in federal prison for filing hundreds of fake tax returns in several states, including Oklahoma.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Damian Barrett of Homestead, Florida, filed 745 fake tax returns in 19 different states from 2015 to 2018.

Court documents say Barrett owned two Florida-based tax preparation companies and used the first to submit tax returns for legitimate clients and the second to submit fraudulent income tax returns.

“With tax filing season right around the corner, it is important that all Americans who choose to hire a tax preparation professional take the necessary precautions to ensure they are legitimate and have their best interests in mind, said Scott Erik Asphaug, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Misusing personally identifiable information to submit fraudulent tax returns in the names of unknowing clients is a serious crime and be treated as such by our office. We applaud the IRS’s effort to hold Mr. Barrett accountable for his crimes.”

To further his scheme, Barrett used the names, Social Security numbers, and employer identification numbers of various individuals, some of whom were his clients, to submit fraudulent returns. Additionally, he set up bank accounts in the names of some of his victims to receive fraudulent refunds. In total, Barrett sought nearly $900,000 and received more than $234,000 in fraudulent refunds.

He pleaded guilty to mail fraud, filing a false tax return and aggravated identity theft.

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