On October 2, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade that 42-year-old Shane Bateman of Brownstown Township was sentenced for his role in a fraudulent tax scheme. Bateman, who pleaded guilty to the charges in May of this year, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. He will also pay restitution to the IRS of more than $185,000, and be on supervised release for two years once released from prison.
According to the press release, Bateman and others participated in the scheme, with Bateman securing personal identification information and mailing addresses of innocent victims to give to the others who participated. The information was used to file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS, and in total requested $1.7 million in refunds on the 180 fraudulent tax returns that were filed, many with stolen identities.
Bateman provided the stolen information to a “supervisor” of the scheme; the refunds were then loaded onto TurboTax Visa debit cards, which Bateman picked up and used at ATM machines to withdraw cash in the metropolitan Detroit area. Bateman gave a portion of the money to the supervisor, and kept the rest. According to court documents, Bateman was not aware of the full scope of the scheme, or that it involved $1.7 million in returns.
The case was investigated by special agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation including Acting Special Agent in Charge Jarod Koopman, who said that the agency will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute identity theft and filing fake tax returns in order to obtain refunds. Koopman said that these schemes are serious, and cause harm to innocent taxpayers. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Hiyama.
Tax fraud or any white collar crimes designed to illegally obtain money or attempt to cover up profits are extremely serious. Although these types of offenses do not typically involve violence, the penalties can be just as harsh as those handed down for violent or heinous crimes. If you have been accused of tax fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, or any similar offense, contact an experienced and capable Michigan white collar crime attorney immediately.