It's the last weekend before the annual April 15th tax return deadline, so lots of folks are scrambling to file on time. It's also time to keep an extra close eye on your Social Security number and other personal information because tax time can be a very lucrative season for identity thieves, that is until the police catch up with them. A criminal in North Carolina found that out the hard way and now he's facing the possibility of hard time and a heavy fine.
[Christian] Rhodes is accused of, along with others, soliciting individuals in order to prepare their federal tax returns that used false information to claim tax refunds that the people were not entitled to receive. The tax returns Rhodes prepared and filed contained false wages, tax withholdings and deductions.
If he's convicted on conspiracy to defraud the United States, 17 counts of presenting false claims to the IRS, three counts of wire fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft, Rhodes could face a lengthy prison sentence and a sizable fine. The conspiracy charge alone carries a 10 year maximum prison sentence. He could also face five years in prison for each false claims charge and 20 years in prison for each wire fraud charge.