News release from the office of the U. S. Attorney
St. Louis, MO: Kenneth Johnson was sentenced to 24 months in prison for defrauding the United States by filing false claims for tax refunds, Acting United States Attorney Michael W. Reap announced today.
From January 1, 2007 to April 15, 2007, co-conspirator Rejji Lairy prepared and electronically filed income tax returns for the year 2006 in which false refunds were claimed based on the improper application of the Earned Income Credit, falsely reported income and falsely claimed dependency exemptions. Johnson solicited persons to assist in falsely claiming refunds by allowing the returns containing the pattern of false entries to be filed electronically under the solicited person’s name. In many instances, the refunds were paid into bank accounts controlled by Lairy or Johnson and the solicited person received a cash payment for his or her assistance. Approximately 100 Forms 1040A claiming refunds totaling in excess of $400,000 were electronically presented to the Internal Revenue Service by Lairy based on this pattern of false entries.
Johnson, 32, formerly of St. Louis, pled guilty in July 2009 to one felony count of conspiracy to file false claims for refund. He appeared today for sentencing before United States District Judge Charles A. Shaw, who also ordered Johnson to pay $331,000 in restitution to the IRS for refund payments that were paid out due to this scheme.
Lairy has also pled guilty and will be sentenced on January 5, 2010.
Reap commended the work on the case by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; and Assistant United States Attorney James E. Crowe, Jr., who is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s office.