Man arrested in scheme to obtain false income tax statements

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A federal grand jury here has indicted Charles Robinson, 42, of Cincinnati, Ohio, charging him with one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by obtaining false claims for income tax refunds and with five counts of depositing forged U.S. Treasury checks.

Robinson was arrested on Monday, Aug. 20 and a detention hearing was held Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen L. Litkovitz.  Robinson was placed on electronic monitoring and released on bond.

According to the indictment, it is alleged that Charles Robinson and his co-conspirators obtained false claims for income tax refunds from the IRS by filing false income tax returns for the tax years 2007, 2008, and 2009.  In addition, Robinson and his co-conspirators allegedly recruited individuals at low-income housing complexes to file federal income tax returns in their own names and social security numbers, offering them information on how they could obtain federal "stimulus money."

One of the co-conspirators represented themselves to be an experienced income tax preparer who knew how to get federal "stimulus money" through the Internet.  This individual allegedly prepared and electronically filed the federal income tax returns through various tax preparation websites, using the computers at the Cincinnati Public Library, their own personal computer and the personal computers of others.

In furtherance of this scheme, Robinson and his co-conspirators allegedly created false Forms W-2 for the recruited individuals listing various employers, wages earned, and federal income tax withholdings.  It is alleged that these individuals did not work for the listed employers.  These bogus federal income tax returns falsely claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit.

It is alleged that the refund checks were mailed to addresses associated with Robinson and his co-conspirators, and they also directed the refund checks to be deposited into bank accounts that were owned or controlled by them.

Robinson and one of his co-conspirators allegedly collected a large portion of the false income tax refunds, and in some cases the recruited individuals did not receive any of their income tax refund.  They escorted these individuals to check cashing locations throughout the Cincinnati area to cash the refund checks.  On occasion, they falsely endorsed and cashed the refund checks that were issued to the recruited individuals without their knowledge or consent.

Also, it is alleged that Robinson deposited fraudulently-endorsed income tax refund checks into his bank account.

Conspiracy to defraud the IRS by obtaining false claims for income tax refunds is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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