A Charlotte man was sentenced to three years, five months in federal prison this week for his role in a $4 million fraudulent tax return scheme.
Daniel Heggins, 44, and Joan Clark, also of Charlotte, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to defraud the United States. Clark was sentenced in February to a year and eight months in prison.
According to court documents and statements in court, the pair conspired to defraud the government by filing false tax returns.
Heggins recruited people with debts, such as home mortgages or car loans, and created false Forms 1099-OID falsely characterizing the amount of the debts as income, prosecutors said.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Heggins charged clients bogus filing fees of $2,500 to $5,000.
Sixteen false tax returns claiming more than $4 million in fraudulent refunds were filed with the IRS office in Charlotte, court records show.
“While taxpayers are ultimately responsible for the information reported on their returns, they also are entitled to honest and accurate assistance from those paid to prepare their returns,” Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Ciraolo said in a news release announcing Heggins’ sentencing.
“Heggins and Clark took advantage of clients seeking such assistance, and used their fraudulent scheme to line their own pockets,” Ciraolo said.
“During filing season, I’d like to encourage the taxpayers to heed the old warning, ‘Buyer beware,’” said Thomas Holloman III, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division’s Charlotte Field Office.
U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. also ordered Heggins to pay $24,325 in restitution to his victims, including the IRS.