ST. GEORGE — A federal grand jury has returned a 24-count indictment charging a Southern Utah man in an alleged scheme to defraud the IRS through which money obtained was transferred to other co-conspirators in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.
Landon Blake Pilkey, 33, of Leeds, used the names and personal identifying information of deceased individuals to file and fraudulently obtain federal tax returns in the fraud scheme operated from March 10, 2013, to May 28, 2013, according to the Jan. 24 indictment announced by Utah U.S. Attorney John W. Huber.
At least 60 fraudulent tax returns were filed as part of the scheme, resulting in deposits of $58,658, the indictment alleges, adding that Pilkey facilitated the receipt of money, maintaining and monitoring several bank accounts where fraudulent tax refunds were deposited.
“Pilkey made at least 15 withdrawals from the accounts where the fraudulent tax returns were deposited and wrote four checks to himself from the accounts for which he had no signing authority,” according to the indictment, which notes: “Pilkey transferred money from the accounts to other co-conspirators of the scheme in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.”
The first count of the indictment alleges conspiracy to submit false claims in connection with the attempt to defraud the IRS, carrying a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
In 19 counts of the indictment, theft of public money is charged, reflecting money Pilkey received through the fraudulently filed federal tax returns, officials said. For each theft of public money count, the potential maximum penalty is 10 years in prison.
The final four counts of the indictment charge aggravated identity theft, alleging Pilkey possessed and used the identification of another person to commit a felony – in this case, theft of government money.
Each identity theft count has a potential minimum-mandatory sentence of two years in prison. The sentence would be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed in the case.
Pilkey has been issued a summons to appear in federal court with his initial appearance set for Feb. 21 before Magistrate Judge Dustin B. Pead.
Special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation are investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Daynes is prosecuting the case.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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