MINNEAPOLIS, May 24 (UPI) -- Two people in Minnesota and two in Florida are accused of filing more than 1,000 fake tax returns claiming nearly $7 million in refunds, federal officials said.
Ronnie Bussell, 28, of St. Paul; Christopher Torh, 26, of North St. Paul; Junior Tervil, 28, of North Miami, Fla.; and Frantz Pierre, 33, of Parkland, Fla., were indicted in federal court in Minneapolis this week on charges of conspiracy to defraud the federal government, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Friday.
Pierre was also charged with money laundering.
The indictment, returned Tuesday, indicated that from July 2010 to May 2011, the four used information of other people to create phony 2009 and 2010 federal income tax returns that claimed refunds. As part of the conspiracy, they also created phony W-2 forms that had trumped-up earnings and tax withholdings, prosecutors allege.
The men and others they recruited filed 1,066 false returns that claimed about $6.9 million in refunds, the indictments said.
To receive the refunds, the four and the others established sham tax preparation businesses in Minnesota. Bank accounts for the fake businesses and the refunds were electronically deposited into the accounts.
The Star Tribune said Pierre is accused of using some of the money to make a $216,000 down payment on a home near Fort Lauderdale, Fla.