After filing hundreds of fake returns in several states, prosecutors said Monday that a Florida man was sentenced to not less than four years of federal imprisonment.

Florida Man Behind Tax Refund Fraud

According to OregonLive, the 40-year-old resident of Homestead, Florida, Damian O. Barrett, was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison after filing a total of 745 fake tax returns in 19 different states from 2015 to 2018.

Based on the court documents by the Justice Department, Barrett owned two Florida-based tax preparation companies, named Winngate Tax Services LLC and Max Tax Experts LLC. He used the first company to submit fraudulent income tax returns and the second company in submitting tax returns for his legitimate clients.

The move of Barrett sought close to $900,000 in fraudulent tax refunds, and he received more than $234,000. Out of the money that he received, a total of $130,000 came from the Oregon Department of Revenue. Barrett has requested more than $322,000 in refunds after filing more than 348 tax returns with the state.

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Fake Tax Refunds Across U.S.

The court documents said that the Florida man used names, social security numbers, and employer identification numbers of various individuals in submitting fraudulent returns. Some of them were his legitimate clients.

Also, Barrett set up bank accounts in the names of some of his victims to receive the refunds.

Moreover, Barrett did not only intentionally exclude more than $21,000 in income from his personal income tax return in 2016 but also did not file his personal income tax return in 2017.

Meanwhile, in August 2020, a federal grand jury in the city of Portland in Oregon indicted Barrett with several counts of mail fraud and laundering. Barrett was later charged with mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and filing a false tax return. The Florida man pleaded guilty to all three charges.

In a statement by Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Scott Erik Asphaug, the DA's office will treat the offense as a serious crime. He added that the misuse of personally identifiable information for filing fraudulent tax returns in the name of clients who are unaware adds to the severity of the offense.

 "We applaud the IRS's effort to hold Mr. Barrett accountable for his crimes," Asphaug added.

United States District Court Judge Michael H. Simon sentenced Barrett to 54 months in prison followed by three years of probation, based on the federal prosecutors.

The U.S. District Court Judge Simon ordered Barrett to pay more than $234,000 in restitution to 11 states. The taxing authorities ordered the restitution in Arizona, Louisiana, Michigan, Connecticut, Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Carolina.

Aside from payments to several states, prosecutors said that Barrett would need to pay more than $74,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.

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Written by: Jess Smith

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