Christopher Proe of Michigan was sentenced in federal court for his role in obtaining tax refunds after falsely claiming the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV sentenced Proe to 92 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Proe, who pleaded guilty in October 2011, was ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution and a $1,700 special assessment.
During the course of his scheme, Proe and a co-conspirator filed dozens of false tax returns after obtaining identity information from third parties under false pretenses and creating false W-2 forms for a fictitious company called Lawn Brothers Landscaping. For the tax year 2008 alone, Proe filed more than 50 fraudulent tax returns and obtained $500,000-plus in tax refunds, which were directed to bank accounts which he controlled.
As a part of the investigation, 14 individuals were previously charged and convicted with committing various crimes arising from their abuse of the federal government’s stimulus program by filing false claims with IRS in which they fraudulently claimed the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit.
“The filing of false tax returns and the abuse of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit program are serious crimes. It is critically important that taxpayers who play by the rules do not end up paying for refunds to people who commit fraud and blatantly lie on the forms submitted to the IRS,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.