Four Arizona residents sentenced in tax refund fraud scheme that used prisoners’ information
On July 28, 2014, Kristi Marie Egger, 34, of Mesa, Ariz., and Michael Wayne Egger, 47, of Mesa, Ariz., were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton after each pleaded guilty to two felony counts for conspiring to defraud the United States by filing false federal income tax returns. Kristi Egger was sentenced to 12 months and a day imprisonment and Michael Egger was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment.
Two other defendants were previously sentenced in connection with related tax refund conspiracies. On April 14, 2014, Joseph Andrew Murray, 43, of Mesa, Ariz. was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment and Samuel George Hamilton, 43, of Peoria, Ariz. was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment.
According to their respective plea agreements, all four defendants participated in a scheme to obtain, and to aid others to obtain, the payment of refunds from the Internal Revenue Service through the preparation and filing of federal individual income tax returns that contained false and fictitious refund claims. In most instances, the defendants would cause pre-paid debit cards to be created in the names of the individuals for whom they were filing the returns and would have these cards mailed to addresses that they controlled. Once the refunds were deposited, cash was withdrawn from ATMs and the proceeds were distributed between the defendants and others. According to the indictments, each return was filed in the name of a prisoner located in an Arizona State prison, many of whom were incarcerated during all or part of the tax year upon which the return was filed.
In total, there were three related but distinct conspiracies. Kristi Egger was involved in separate conspiracies with Michael Egger and Joseph Murray. Michael Egger was also involved in a separate conspiracy with Samuel Hamilton. Kristi Egger was ordered to pay $166,866 in restitution, Michael Egger was ordered to pay $104,441 in restitution, Joseph Murray was ordered to pay $14,020 in restitution, and Samuel Hamilton $8,208 in restitution.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Howard D. Sukenic, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
SOURCE: U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona