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Prisoner Caught in a Scheme to Defraud the IRS Sentenced to More Than Seven Years

SACRAMENTO—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today that United States District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. sentenced SCOTT EDWARD WHITNEY, 41, of Las Vegas, to seven years and three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring to defraud the IRS.

This case is the product of a joint investigation by the IRS – Criminal Investigation, the FBI, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons at Herlong Federal Correctional Institution.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Samantha Spangler, who prosecuted the case, WHITNEY and a codefendant filled out false tax returns for other inmates seeking refunds from the IRS. In order to portray the inmates as taxpayers, they made false W-2 forms using the names of real employers, but for whom the inmates had not worked. The IRS discovered the scheme and no refunds were paid. If the scheme had been successful, WHITNEY and his coconspirators would have obtained $93,950 from the IRS. WHITNEY pleaded guilty on November 23, 2009.

At sentencing, Judge Damrell told WHITNEY that he had "made his whole life about stealing from others." He declined WHITNEY’s proposal to be placed in a gambling addiction treatment program in Las Vegas instead of prison. In imposing a sentence higher than that called for under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Judge Damrell pointed out that WHITNEY committed the IRS fraud while serving a sentence for his last fraud. Judge Damrell said that the need to protect the public and deter WHITNEY from committing more crimes against the public justified the sentence.

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