Last week two men were sentenced to federal prison in connection with a tax scheme after they were found to be filing false tax returns on behalf of clients, then sharing the proceeds. Chad Anthony Chertos, a 37-year-old Ada resident, and Gregory Edward VanDyke, a 39-year-old Newaygo man, were both sentenced to federal prison. Chertos was sentenced to 2 1/2 years for his role in the scheme; VanDyke was sentenced to five years, three months.
Both men were ordered by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker to pay restitution to the U.S. Treasury in an amount exceeding $240,000. In December of last year, Chertos pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by filing false claims on clients’ tax returns. VanDyke pleaded not guilty to the charges in November of 2012.
Federal authorities determined that the two men, who were business partners, went door-to-door claiming that even if the individuals they were soliciting made little or no income, they (Chertos and VanDyke) could obtain significant tax refunds for them. In exchange for this service, Chertos and VanDyke would deduct substantial fees from the refund checks clients received. The two men will be barred in the future from assisting clients in filing federal tax returns, according to U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles in a news article at Mlive.com.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher O’Connor stated that Chertos and VanDyke attempted to conduct a legitimate business, but could not earn enough income to pay bills.
U.S. Attorney Miles also commented that the two took advantage of both hard working taxpayers in the U.S. and their clients by inflating or fabricating income and abusing tax credits designed for the working poor.
Michigan federal crime attorneys understand the seriousness of being convicted of a federal crime such as tax fraud, Medicare or social security fraud, or any theft-related offense. In most cases individuals who are charged at the federal level will face harsher penalties than at the state level.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for fraudulent activity or is under investigation, do not hesitate. Contact an experienced and aggressive Michigan criminal defense lawyer immediately in order to protect your legal rights and freedom.