NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A New York City man was arrested and charged after seeking -- and receiving -- a fraudulent $6.8 million tax refund, authorities announced Friday.
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss and IRS Criminal Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Jonathan Larsen announced that 46-year-old Jameen Walker is charged with making a false claim, subscribing to false tax returns, and theft of government funds in connection with his repeated filing of false tax returns claiming multimillion-dollar tax refunds based on fictitious income and withholdings.
According to the allegations, between 2016 and 2018, Walker repeatedly filed tax returns with the IRS falsely claiming that a corporation he controlled had paid him millions and withheld millions in federal taxes. He then fraudulently sought large federal tax refunds based on those claims.
"As alleged, Jameen Walker filed multiple false tax returns, both corporate and individual, ultimately defrauding the IRS out of nearly $7 million," Strauss said. "Now he will have to answer for his alleged crimes."
They say that in 2016, Walker filed multiple forms falsely claiming that Stallings Empire Corporation paid him $19.7 million, of which $14.6 million had been withheld.
In fact, Stallings Empire Corporation did not withhold or pay any money in federal taxes on behalf of Walker or any other employee, according to authorities. Nevertheless, Walker sought a federal tax refund of more than $6.8 million.
Though the IRS did not issue that refund, Walker allegedly continued to file fraudulent returns.
In 2018 and 2019, officials say he filed multiple false forms for Stallings Empire Corporation for tax year 2018. In each, he claimed that Stallings Empire Corporation had paid millions of dollars and withheld commensurately large amounts.
In early 2019, Walker filed a form for tax year 2018 claiming more than $16 million in income, $12.2 million in withholdings, and seeking a multimillion-dollar refund.
Based on this tax return, the IRS ultimately issued a tax refund check to Walker for more than $6.9 million.
In August 2019, Walker deposited that refund check at a bank in the Bronx and proceeded to withdraw and spend in excess of $85,000 before the bank restricted his account.
"Identifying refund fraud schemes is a priority for IRS-Criminal Investigation," Larsen said. "I want honest taxpayers to know that we are committed to holding those accountable that choose to defraud the government. Mr. Walker's allegedly false claims for millions of dollars in fraudulent refunds should be considered an attack on the tax system and the general public who believe in it and follow the rules, and we take these allegations very seriously."
The count of making a false claim carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison; three counts of subscribing to a false tax return each carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison; and one count of theft of government funds carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
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