27 charged in scheme to file false tax returns

March 21, 1993|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,Staff Writer

Federal authorities have charged 27 people in a conspiracy to file false federal tax returns in a scheme to illegally receive $200,000 in tax refunds.

A federal grand jury charged three of the defendants in a 30-count indictment unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Joseph H. Vines Jr., 32, of the 1600 block of Patterson Park Ave.; Elaine Purvey, 34, of the 500 block of Poplar Grove St.; and Denise Morgan, 30, of the 600 block of N. Arlington St. were charged with conspiracy to defraud the government and filing false claims.

Mr. Vines was ordered detained Tuesday by Magistrate Judge Paul M. Rosenberg. Ms. Purvey and Ms. Morgan were released on their own recognizance but ordered to submit to periodic drug tests and placed on a daily curfew from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Prosecutors lodged criminal information complaints against 24 people, charging they aided and abetted the filing of false returns for 1991 federal taxes. The filing of a criminal information usually means a person has agreed to waive indictment and plead guilty to charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart R. Berman said Mr. Vines participated in a conspiracy with Frazier B. Todd Jr., of Atlanta, and Vincent Drone, of Baltimore. Todd and Drone, who have each pleaded guilty to similar charges in Cincinnati and Atlanta, respectively, are cooperating in the investigation in Baltimore, Mr. Berman said.

Todd and Drone launched the operation in Baltimore with Mr. Vines and conducted similar schemes to receive illegal tax refunds of $400,000 in Atlanta and $31,000 in Cincinnati, Mr. Berman said.

In Baltimore, the three men recruited 27 women and one man who gave them permission to use their names and Social Security numbers to file false 1040 returns.

Mr. Vines and his co-conspirators filed the returns electronically, claiming the 28 people worked for a company that Mr. Berman said was a bogus operation concocted to carry out the fraud.

The indictment says the group of 28 received refund checks ranging from $2,063 to $3,156.

They did not keep the checks but were paid $500 by the conspirators, Mr. Berman said.

The amount illegally received from the Internal Revenue Service reached $200,000 because there were "other acts that were not referenced in the indictment," Mr. Berman said.

Prosecutors did not bring charges against two people whose identities were used in the scheme.

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