Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tax Scam Probe Goes Behind Bars; 4 Charged Include 3 Inmates, Woman

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tax Scam Probe Goes Behind Bars; 4 Charged Include 3 Inmates, Woman

Article excerpt

Byline: Teresa Stepzinski, Times-Union staff writer

A federal investigation into a $2.4 million corporate tax fraud scheme has led behind bars to a small group of South Georgia prison inmates.

Federal prison inmates Michael Dexter Little and Gary Barnes, along with state prison inmate Ricky Lamar Davis and his wife, Angie Davis, are charged with operating the elaborate scam over the past two years.

They were indicted on conspiracy and fraud charges by a federal grand jury Thursday as part of a six-month investigation by FBI and U.S. Internal Revenue Service agents, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Durham said.

The behind-bars scheme involved the creation of several phony corporations. It relied on an accomplice outside the prison who downloaded the necessary IRS tax forms off the Internet and provided them by mail to the inmates, FBI Special Agent Tony Alig said.

"The scheme was low-tech, but it was executed well and operated very smoothly," Alig said. "It was very successful in creating the illusion that these fictitious corporations were legitimate."

The fraud was so convincing that the IRS issued a $548,702 tax refund check to one of the bogus companies in March. However, FBI and IRS agents intervened before the check could be cashed, Alig said.

No government money was lost in the case, Alig said, because the agents were able to intercept other refund checks and block additional phony claims in the scam.

Little, 35, of Lyons is the accused ringleader. A former accountant, he is charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government and two counts of making false claims against the government, the indictment states.

Ricky Davis, 41, and Angie Davis, 29, both of Columbus, are charged with one count each of conspiracy to defraud the government.

Barnes, 36, of Sandersville, is likewise charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government. …

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