PHILADELPHIA, PA(April 27, 2017)(CNBNewsnet) --Voncel R. Harrigan, Sr., 51, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania entered a plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy to file false income tax returns, announced the Acting United States, Attorney Louis D. Lappen.
According to court documents, the charges arose from an identity theft and tax fraud scheme executed by Harrigan’s daughter, Vontia Jones, to obtain tax refunds from the IRS by filing more than 700 false tax returns amounting to more
than $3 million which includes both actual and attempted tax loss for the tax years 2008 through 2013. Defendant Jones operated a business she called “Jones Tax Service” which operated out of her home in Philadelphia. Jones designed multiple flyers for distribution advertising her services that stated “DON’T YOU DESERVE SOME INCOME TAX MONEY TOO? $750 [PER CHILD] WELFARE SOCIAL SECURITY UNEMPLOYMENT DISABILITY EVEN IF YOU NEVER HAD A JOB.”
Defendant Jones conspired with her father, Voncel R. Harrigan, Sr., her sister, Michele Wood, and others who solicited personal identifying information from individuals under the guise that Jones’ business would get them “tax money” even if they never worked. Defendant Jones used the individuals’
information to file false tax returns and open bank accounts so that fraudulent tax refunds could be deposited and withdrawn from those accounts.
Among other things, defendant Harrigan admitted in court today that he opened up a business account so that the fraudulent tax refund checks could be deposited into that account. Defendant Harrigan made deposits of fraudulent tax refund checks, forged signatures on checks, and made withdrawals from that business account. This account contained approximately $206,751 in fraudulent tax refunds. Harrigan participated in the false claims conspiracy from February 9, 2011, when he opened the account, through January 24, 2012, when search warrants were executed at his home and defendant Jones’ home. During this time period, the members of the conspiracy filed 282 fraudulent tax returns (for the 2010 and 2011 tax years), which collectively claimed refunds of $1,233,974 which includes actual and attempted tax loss.
The defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, 3 years supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Natali.