For all the fear and anxiety people suffer in the run up to April 15th and the filing of tax returns, lots of taxpayers look forward to the refund to which they are entitled from the IRS as reported in their tax return. But, imagine you were not entitled to that so desirable refund, but a refund was coming to you anyway?
It would be like Christmas in April. Imagine that (indeed, rumor has it that John Lennon’s hit song, Imagine, left out the line “Imagine all the tax refunds….”)
One man from Washington state not only imagined all the refunds despite not being entitled to any such thing, but he made an industry out of it. He claimed more than $1.8 million in false tax refunds will spend the next 46 months behind bars.
Seeney Ristick, 33, of Tacoma, Wash., pleaded guilty to the tax crime of inventing phony tax refunds.
According to court records, Ristick presented fraudulent papers and forms to different tax preparation firms in western Washington and directed the filing of bogus tax returns in his own name and the names of others, including relatives and friends. What a pal!
To facilitate the scheme, Ristick created false income journals and falsely claimed self-employment income and various tax credits, all with the intent to defraud the IRS.
Ristick typically approached the tax preparers by himself and presented fraudulent, and sometimes forged, powers of attorney, which purported to allow Ristick to represent taxpayer named in the power of attorney. Ristick used this fake documents to “represent” these taxpayers in financial matters, and so advance his fraudulent scheme.
At other times, he would accompany individuals to the tax preparation firms and assist them in filing the false tax return.
Ristick then charged the person for filing the false tax return between $500 and $1,500 for the service he provided.