Recently, United States Attorney Barbara McQuade and IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Jarod Koopman announced in a press release that Lamarjoire Pharr, a former Clinton Township resident, was sentenced to 37 months in prison for filing fraudulent federal income tax returns. According to the press release, Pharr was also ordered to pay $962,952 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
Pharr, a musician and music producer, is alleged to have used the nearly one million dollars he received in refunds to further his career, and on such expenses as casinos, hotels, adult entertainment, bars, and department store purchases. For more than 2 1/2 years beginning in September of 2009, Pharr prepared and electronically filed more than 360 tax returns using the information of individuals who were for the most part deceased. Pharr obtained information on these individuals at a well-known website, Ancestry.com. The individuals who were still living, as well as survivors and estates of those who were deceased had no knowledge of Pharr stealing their information. Atlanta, Detroit, and Miami Beach were just a few of the locations Pharr filed the fraudulent income tax returns from.
U.S. Attorney McQuade wanted to warn the public about the fact that criminals troll death notices and websites in an effort to locate potential victims, who are often times deceased. People should not only make a concerted effort to keep their own taxpayer information safe, but that of their loved ones as well.
When criminals file fraudulent income tax returns, essentially it is the American taxpayers who pay for it. Jarod Koopman warned that the IRS – Criminal Investigation is and will continue to be vigorous in their pursuit of individuals who may be committing identity theft and tax fraud.
Once released from prison, Pharr will be under supervised release for three years.
Michigan criminal defense attorneys understand the seriousness of crimes involving identity theft and tax fraud. While these “white collar crimes” typically do not involve violence or physical injury to others, they do result in financial injury to others, and are punished harshly.
Anyone who is being investigated for tax fraud, embezzling, or any financial crime should consult with an aggressive Michigan criminal defense lawyer immediately. The sooner work can begin on your case, the better the outcome will likely be.