A federal grand jury for the District of Colorado has returned an indictment, which was unsealed today, charging two Colorado business owners with conspiring to defraud the United States and to commit money laundering, money laundering and filing false claims, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
According to the indictment, Matthew Taylor and Martin Fields owned businesses in Colorado and New Jersey and allegedly conspired with the owner of a Colorado-based home heating oil business, Shintan, Inc., to file more than $7 million in false claims for refundable fuel tax credits with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A refundable fuel tax credit called the “Biodiesel Mixture Credit” was available to blenders of biodiesel mixture who used the mixture as a fuel or sold it for use as fuel.
The indictment charges that Taylor and Fields filed multiple false claims for the credit with the IRS and then laundered the proceeds of the scheme through bank accounts they controlled. They allegedly spent the fraudulently obtained funds on a variety of expenses, including $890,000 for a down payment on a house, $16,000 at a clothing store, more than $12,000 at a TV store, more than $24,000 towards luxury vacation rentals and paid more than $11,000 to a landscape company.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison on the conspiracy to defraud the government count, 5 years in prison on each false claim count, and 10 years in prison on the money laundering conspiracy count and each money laundering count. They also face a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman thanked special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation and Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division, who investigated the case, and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Leslie A. Goemaat and Arthur J. Ewenczyk, who are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.
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