Administrator sentenced to 46 months in prison and three years’ supervised release for converting $1.5 million from FEMA grant to his own use, filing false tax returns


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Date: October 18, 2021


Johnstown, PA — A resident of Duncansville, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to a total of 46 months in prison and three years' supervised release on his conviction of conversion of government funds and filing false tax returns. Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Senior United States District Judge Kim R. Gibson imposed the sentence on Benjamin Allen Rhine of Duncansville, Pennsylvania.

According to information presented to the court, on or about April 19, 2013, to on or about June 18, 2017, Rhine received and converted falsely to his own use a total of $1,590,257 in federally-funded grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with payments made to him to which he was not entitled. Further, on Feb. 12, 2015, Feb. 20, 2016, and April 10, 2017, Rhine willfully filed Income Tax Return Form 1040, in which a written declaration was made under the penalties of perjury, and which he did not believe to be true and correct. The tax returns reported no taxable income; whereas Rhine knew and believed he had a taxable income resulting in additional tax due in the amounts of $103,626 for tax year 2014, $138,115 for tax year 2015, and $60,157 for tax year 2016.

"Benjamin Rhine's greed overtook his good sense," said U.S. Attorney Kaufman. "Massive thefts of government funds will be prosecuted aggressively."

"Mr. Rhine's actions resulted in him illegally enriching himself and shortchanging the community he was supposed to be serving," said Yury Kruty, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation. "The Special Agents of IRS-CI will continue working with our law enforcement partners to prosecute others who participate in schemes like this."

"I want to thank our law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly to bring Mr. Rhine to justice" said Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari, of the Department of Homeland Security-Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Arnold P. Bernard, Jr. prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Acting U.S. Attorney Kaufman commended the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security-Office of the Inspector General for the investigation that led to the successful prosecution of Rhine.