Georgia native Michael Thornton was sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay $319,242 in restitution after pleading guilty to tax fraud. Filing a false tax return violates the provisions of 26 U.S.C. § 7207.
According to United States Attorney Sally Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: the Defendant worked for a collection agency from 2005 through 2007. While in that position, he prepared and filed fraudulent tax returns for numerous co-workers and associates. Disregarding the information given to him by the taxpayers, the Defendant inflated their incomes and fabricated deductions on the returns to obtain tax refunds that were not truly owed. Further, he did not list himself as the tax return preparer, review the returns with the taxpayers, or give the taxpayers a copy of the returns, which the Government claims was purposefully to impede the detection of his fraud. To make matters worse, when the IRS requested verification from the Defendant's company for the wages claimed on the fraudulent returns, the Defendant attempted to submit a fraudulent verification consistent with the bogus wages, but was caught by the company's owner and fired before he could do so.
In total, the Thornton filed over 340 returns for the 2005 and 2006 tax years. IRS agents examined a number of those returns and identified over $1.8 million in false items claimed by by the Defendant, resulting in an alleged tax loss to the government of nearly $320,000. Not surprisingly, Thornton also filed a fraudulent personal return for himself in the 2005 tax year.