Woman sentenced to 2 years in prison in $90k tax fraud case

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A Minnesota woman was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison last week for recieving nearly $90,000 via falsified tax returns.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice and District Attorney's Office, Hannah Caroline Bassett admitted to using victims' personal information – including names and social security numbers – to receive refunds on fake returns from 2008-2009.

Bassett electronically filed 33 false individual returns during that time, using the personal info of 18 victims. She claimed about $107,000 in refunds and obtained $88,980 of it – which officials say she used "for her own personal use." As part of the plea agreement, Bassett pleaded guilty to one count of false, fictitious and fraudulent claims.

Kelly Jackson of the St. Paul's IRS Criminal Investigation field office said in a statement the agency has made refund fraud and identity theft "a top priority."

"Filing fraudulent tax returns in the names of other individuals results in significant harm to those individuals whose identities were stolen, as well as a monetary loss against the U.S. Treasury," Jackson said.

Additional Fraud Cases

In Moorhead, a woman was accused Friday of defrauding public assistance programs to the tune of nearly $20,000.

Forum News Service reports Alyssha Marie Colton, 27, was charged with felony wrongfully obtaining assistance. Court documents say she wrongfully received about $17,000 in food stamp benefits from June 2011 to April 2012, the paper says, plus another $2,500 in welfare payments during that time.

She's expected in court June 3.

Another Minnesotan is accused of getting creative on her tax filings. Tami May was charged last month with tax fraud after federal prosecutors say she didn’t pay taxes and claimed she and her husband were residents of the “Kingdom of Heaven,” not the U.S. – despite making significant money from an excavating business.

Also in April, five Minneapolis-area tax preparers were charged with filing false tax returns on behalf of customers. The quintet worked for Primetime Tax Services and are accused of reporting false dependents, deductions and wage incomes, plus demanding a portion of their customers' refund for the services.

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