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Five accused of $3.5 million tax fraud

A grand jury indicted five South Bend residents Wednesday on charges connected with a scheme to steal $3.5 million in tax refunds in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Posted on Jan. 17, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 17, 2013 at 2:19 p.m.

SOUTH BEND — Five South Bend residents face federal charges that they worked together to bilk the U.S. Treasury out of more than $3.5 million by filing nearly 1,200 false tax returns for 2008-10.

A federal grand jury in Hammond indicted Jonathan Parhams, Jr., 35; Africa Gunn, 35; Angela White, 31; Alicia Green, 27; and Levelle Sanders, 26, on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in South Bend.

According to the indictment, “for tax years 2008, 2009 and 2010, the defendants and others were involved in a scheme that prepared and filed approximately 1,189 tax returns from the Northern District of Indiana and elsewhere requesting a total of approximately $3,543,794.00 in tax refunds.”

They either bought people’s information or convinced them to hire the group to file their tax returns, according to the indictment. The group then inflated the income reported on the tax forms, the grand jury charged.

“The tax refunds were direct deposited and typically split amongst bank accounts or a debit card owned by the client and a bank account owned or controlled by the defendants,” according to the indictment.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the charges came after an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service.

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