Illinois motor vehicle employee found guilty of fraud charges - KMOV.com

Illinois motor vehicle employee found guilty of fraud charges

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A federal jury found a Belleville, Ill. man guilty on conspiracy to defraud the United States by assisting Missouri residents in registering their cars in Illinois.      

Melvin Harmon, 40, was indicted on Sept. 13, 2017 in a superseding indictment charging him with six felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, mail fraud and interstate transportation of falsely made motor vehicle titles.

Harmon was employed at a Granite City, Ill. office registering vehicles for the State of Illinois Secretary of State between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 20, 2016, according to the evidence presented at the trial. Harmon used his employment to obtain fraudulent motor vehicle registrations for others in exchange for a fee.

Investigators with the Illinois Secretary of State discovered Harmon had been charging Missouri residents $350 to $700 to fraudulently register their cars in Illinois in March 2016. This enabled the Missouri residents to evade payment of Missouri taxes. Harmon also altered the price of the vehicles to reduce any payments owed to the State of Illinois because of his fraudulent conduct.    

However, throughout the course of the investigation, officials determined Harmon registered more than 380 vehicles for residents of Missouri and other states using assumed Illinois addresses.

The State of Missouri estimated a loss of tax revenue in excess of $300,000.00 for vehicles associated with Missouri residents

Harmon faces up to 20 years of imprisonment for the convictions, and a potential fine of $250,000 per count. A judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provides recommended sentencing ranges, in determining the actual sentence.

Sentencing has been set for August 14, 2018.       

The case was investigated by the Missouri Department of Revenue-Compliance and Investigation Bureau and handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Tracy Berry and Dianna Collins.

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