California Man Pleads Guilty in a Multi-Year Tax Fraud Scheme, Faces Decade-Long Prison Term

Guilty Plea in Tax Fraud Scheme

Richard Jason Mountford from California pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme that involved filing false claims against the United States in income tax returns.

The conspiracy spanned from 2016 to 2020, where Mountford collaborated with another individual in this fraudulent activity.

False Tax Returns for Unearned Refunds

Mountford and his co-conspirator submitted fabricated individual income tax returns that sought refunds they were not entitled to receive.

These returns, filed under their names and those of unsuspecting individuals, falsely indicated employment at a company, reported wages, and claimed federal tax withholdings, all to fraudulently demand tax refunds.

Fraudulent Returns Yield Unwarranted Refunds

The fraudulent scheme led the IRS to issue unwarranted refunds amounting to $873,723.53 to the co-conspirators. Mountford personally received and deposited $757,075.53 of these illicit proceeds into his bank accounts, using a substantial portion to purchase new cars totaling nearly $360,000. Additionally, he distributed about $170,000 in cash and gold bars to his accomplice.

Legal Proceedings and Potential Sentencing

Mountford is set to be sentenced on April 11 by Judge Troy L. Nunley for the Eastern District of California. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

The final sentence will be determined based on various factors, including the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutory considerations.

Announcement and Ongoing Investigation

The Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California announced the case. IRS Criminal Investigation is actively probing the matter.

The case is being prosecuted by trial attorneys from the Tax Division and the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

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