Tax refund scheme used Arizona inmates’ names

A Clifton man pleaded guilty in a complex tax refund fraud scheme that involved the false filing of returns using the names of people doing time in an Arizona prison, the U.S. Attorney’s office said Thursday.

According to information included in a plea agreement for Michael L. Roy, 50, the U.S. Postal Service intercepted 11 envelopes containing federal tax refund checks, all labeled with Roy’s Clifton address. Each envelope was addressed to a different individual, which matched names on a typed list taped inside Roy’s mailbox.

According to the government’s case, a total of 30 IRS returns were filed using Roy’s current or former home address for the 2012 tax year.

All the returns requested tax refunds, and 26 returns had identical amounts of income, withholdings and refund amounts.

Refunds on eight of the returns were deposited into Roy’s bank account, and the loss to the government totaled $65,263.

Twenty of the returns, according to stipulated facts in the case, were purported to be from taxpayers who are incarcerated, 18 of whom are in a prison in Eyman, Ariz.

Roy, previously known as Michael Demes, once served seven years in Arizona prisons beginning in 1999 for convictions on robbery and aggravated assault.

Letters and Moneygram receipts were recovered that showed Roy was communicating with an inmate currently incarcerated in Arizona.

A firearm was also found in Roy’s possession.

Roy is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16. Conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and the firearm charge each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.


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