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Man Charged in $96 Million Tax Fraud Case, Largest Ever Prosecuted in MO, Receives Probation

Industry: Legal Services

KANSAS CITY, MO – Mark J. Murray of Houston County, AL received probation for his involvement in the largest false claims case ever prosecuted in the state of Missouri.

KANSAS CITY, MO (PRUnderground) November 8th, 2013

Mark J. Murray of Houston County, AL received probation for his involvement in the largest false claims case ever prosecuted in the state of Missouri.  In all, 14 defendants, spread across the country, attempted to receive $96 million in fraudulent refunds from the IRS.

Murray, represented by Dothan, AL attorneys Stephen Etheredge and Dustin Fowler, of the firm “Buntin, Etheredge & Fowler” was charged in Case: 4:11-cr-00223-BCW on 09/21/11 in Federal District Court for the Western District of Missouri in three separate counts of a seventy-one count indictment and was facing up to 20 years in prison for his involvement.  Murray’s charges arose from his receipt through the United States mail and retention of “tax refunds” generated off false returns prepared and filed by Gerald Poynter a/k/a “Brother Love” of Kansas City, MO, in the amounts of $352,885 from the U.S. Treasury for 2005, and $229,606.33 from the U.S. Treasury for 2006.

The indictment accused the defendants of promoting the tax fraud scheme at hotel meetings and living room gatherings by telling prospective clients they could “recoup” any debt taken out in their names.

According to the indictment, the defendants used financial documents, such as mortgage and loan statements, car payments, bank statements, credit card statements and other records of debt and spending. They then listed those debts on tax returns as investment earnings.  Although 89% percent of the claims were rejected, the rest resulted in $3.5 million in refunds.

In August 2012, following negotiations with federal prosecutors, Murray agreed to plead guilty to one count of the indictment which charged him with a violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 287 and 2, that is, filing false claims for tax refunds and aiding and abetting the same.  The possible punishment, for this single charge, included imprisonment for a period not to exceed five years.

When contacted regarding the sentencing, Etheredge stated that he was very satisfied that he and Fowler “had been able to convey to the Court sufficient and compelling information as to the true character of Mark Murray to provide a foundation for the Court’s determination as to an appropriate punishment after consideration of all the facts.”  Fowler added, “We are extremely pleased with the outcome because it is the best possible result for our client.”

About Buntin, Etheredge & Fowler

Buntin, Etheredge & Fowler offers clients around the country first-rate skills in dealing with government investigations and enforcement matters. Our lawyers have substantial experience defending clients through all phases of investigations as well as criminal and civil enforcement proceedings.

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