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Tacoma man sentenced in scheme using inmate information for fraudulent tax returns

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on April 8, 2013 at 3:27 pm with No Comments »
April 8, 2013 2:28 pm

A Tacoma man was sentenced to 33 months in prison today for his role in a scheme that tried to claim more than $145,000 in tax refunds using the names and social security numbers of prison inmates.

Richard Wright, 43, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $71,885 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Wright and his associated filed fake W-2 forms and federals income tax returns using names and social security numbers of inmates at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said Kenneth Door, who was behind bars at the time, provided Wright with information on his fellow inmates. Door is scheduled for trial later this year.

The group allegedly used companies that had declared bankruptcy and recently closed to make up employment information on the forms. The refunds were directed into one of many bank accounts controlled by Wright and his associates.

Nearly $72,000 of the $145,000 in filed tax returns was paid out by the federal government, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The group is accused of filing 31 fraudulent tax returns for 2007 to 2008.

Two co-conspirators have already been sentenced. Lucy Hyder, 53, was sentenced in February to eight months in prison and Ruth Branstetter, 48, was sentenced last month to nearly seven months in prison.

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