GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WLNS) – The first of five defendants in a Lansing area tax scam has been sentenced for her part in the scheme.
22-year-old Amanda Ely was ordered to pay back the money she received in the scam and to serve three years on probation.
According to U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles the five people worked a scheme to promise people “free stimulus money”.
In order to get those phony funds they victims had to share their personal identification information.
Ely asked the court for leniency because she is the single parent of two minor children, she was only 18 years old when the crimes were committed and she had no prior criminal history.
“My office has no tolerance for those who take advantage of the trust of the vulnerable only to scam the system and line their own pockets,” stated U.S. Attorney Miles.
The FBI began the investigation after getting complaints from citizens. During the course of the investigation more than 50 subpoenas were issued to track tax refunds paid into numerous bank accounts.
The IRS estimates that Ely and the four co-defendants filed 965 false tax returns and received payments of nearly $1.5 million in false tax refunds. Ely was sentenced for receiving about $32,000 in false refunds.
The four other defendants will be sentenced within the next month.