Minnesota couple plead guilty to massive tax fraud scheme - Bring Me The News

Minnesota couple plead guilty to massive tax fraud scheme


A Prior Lake couple has pleaded guilty to charges of stealing $1.8 million in a wide-ranging fraud scheme that involved them filing false tax returns in the names of hundreds of people – many of them immigrants.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced Tuesday that Mark Hammerschmidt, 48, and his wife Ornella Hammerschmidt, 36, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy and tax fraud charges in federal court in Minneapolis.

The Hammerschmidts owned a tax preparation and immigration services business, American Group, that operated in Shakopee and Florida. Between 2010 and 2013, they used the business to prepare and file more than 1,000 false income tax returns on behalf of their tax and immigration clients.

According to the U.S. attorney, the two obtained the personal identification information of immigrant clients, including Guatemalan citizens; used the information to get taxpayer identification numbers for those individuals; then filed multiple years’ worth of false tax returns in those individuals’ names, seeking refunds based on false household income, false dependents and false education credits.

The tax refunds were deposited into bank accounts controlled by the Hammerschmidts, who then kept a portion of the money and paid the rest to their clients.

The Hammerschmidts also filed false Minnesota state income tax returns using the same scheme, according to the U.S. attorney.

The Star Tribune reports that Mark Hammerschmidt faces up to nine years in prison, and his wife Ornella faces up to 21 months in prison. They have agreed to pay restitution of more than $1.8 million to the victims.

The paper notes they could still be charged in Florida or other jurisdictions in connection with the scheme.

Next Up

Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen

Vikings will face Everson Griffen twice after trade to Lions

The former Vikings star was traded to Detroit for a fifth-round pick.

Jordana Green

WCCO Radio's Jordana Green diagnosed with leukemia

"I got this," Green wrote on her Facebook page.


Minnesota-based Crisp & Green adds 20 locations in four states

The four-year-old local business says it's going national

victoria burrow pizza

Fair-inspired entertainment venue opening at Mall of America

Fair on 4 will feature axe throwing, go carts and more.


Canceled: The Halloween bar crawl that no bars knew about

The dubiously organized event was planned for this weekend in Minneapolis.

covid saliva test

St. Cloud gets Minnesota's 6th COVID-19 saliva testing site

Four more sites are expected to open in the Twin Cities in the coming weeks.

burnsville center

Part of Burnsville Center is being auctioned off

More than 500,000 square feet of the mall is being auctioned off.

State Capitol

Elections 2020: Control of Minnesota's divided Legislature is up for grabs

Redistricting and responding to COVID-19 are among the issues the new legislature will have to deal with.


Rochester woman found dead in the snow after leaving senior residence

The woman left the senior living center around 2:30 a.m. Monday.

Screen Shot 2020-10-27 at 10.43.19 AM

Investigation: Sprinklers could have saved 5 killed in Minneapolis high-rise fire

The deadly fire broke out at the Cedar-Riverside apartment block last November.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, October 27

Hospitalizations continue to rise quickly in Minnesota.