Nation e-Edition

Bajan jailed for tax fraud

Thu, November 08, 2012 - 3:44 PM

A 35-YEAR-OLD BAJAN who stole the identities of dead people to get US $120 million in income tax refunds from the United States government will spend the next nine and a half years in a federal prison.

Andrew Watts was sentenced on Wednesday to seven and a half years for mail fraud and the maximum two-year consecutive term for aggravated identity theft. He was also ordered to forfeit the more than US $1.6 million he spent from the money he actually got from the scam to live a life of luxury.

Between 2007 and 2011 the Barbadian immigrant filed 645 bogus federal income tax returns, claiming refunds in excess of US $120 million. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent him more than US $19 million before the fraud was discovered.

Under the scheme Watts prepared and submitted bogus federal income tax returns using the names and Social Security numbers of taxpayers who were deceased. In some cases he signed the name of the deceased person to the return while in others he falsely listed himself as the deceased’s representative.

He then had the refunds mailed to an address he controlled and electronically deposited into bank accounts. (DP)

Full story in tomorrow's WEEKEND NATION

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