Date: July 21, 2022 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced Eurich Griffin III to four years and nine months in federal prison for conspiring to defraud the United States by preparing false and fraudulent tax returns. In addition to the term of imprisonment, the court also ordered Griffin to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution to the United States. Griffin had pleaded guilty on March 14, 2022. According to court documents, Griffin was involved in a conspiracy that recruited clients by convincing them that their mortgages and other debts entitled them to tax refunds and prepared false tax returns on the clients' behalf. Between 2013 and 2018, as part of the conspiracy, Griffin helped prepare and file tax returns for clients that sought more than $5.2 million in fraudulent tax refunds. The tax returns falsely claimed that banks and other financial institutions had withheld large amounts of income tax from the clients, thereby entitling the clients to a refund. In reality, the financial institutions had not paid any income to, or withheld any taxes from, these individuals. To make the refund claims appear legitimate, however, Griffin and his co-conspirators filed fraudulent tax documents with the IRS that matched the withholding information listed on the tax returns, making them appear as if they had been issued by the banks. As part of the conspiracy, Griffin also submitted fraudulent promissory notes to the IRS totaling more than $1.35 million in which he falsely purported to pay the clients' tax debts. "Let's call this scheme what it is – stealing. Griffin and his co-conspirators attempted to steal millions of dollars from the government by submitting fabricated tax returns," said Brian Payne, Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Field Office. "Thanks to the investigative work of our IRS-CI agents, we were able to shut this scheme down and prevent tax refunds from going to undeserving fraudsters." This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer L Peresie.