Arkansas Husband, Wife Plead In Tax Refund Scheme

Jun 5, 2013

A husband and wife in western Arkansas have pleaded guilty to charges they filed federal tax returns in the names of other people and kept refunds of $132,000 for themselves.

U.S. Attorney Connor Eldridge said Wednesday that 37-year-old Owen Wheeler and 51-year-old Patricia Wheeler of Everton took advantage of a new Internal Revenue Service system that provides speedier refunds to taxpayers.

The pair is accused of using tax software to file the returns and have the refunds directly deposited into a bank account.

Each could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Authorities in east Arkansas launched an investigation into similar crimes this year in which employees at Arkansas State University were targeted by identity thieves.