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UPDATE: Fla. Prison Inmate Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA – Michael William Joseph, III, 53, formerly an inmate at Apalachee Correctional Institution in Sneads, has entered a plea of guilty before United States District Judge Richard Smaok to forty-one (41) counts of the indictment returned against him in July of last year. The guilty plea was announced today by Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

Joseph pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, twenty-four counts of filing false claims against the government and fifteen counts of theft from the government. As a part of his plea, Joseph admitted to conspiring to file false claims for refunds against the government in the names of inmates incarcerated in Florida Department of Corrections from February 7, 2008 through July 10, 2012. The majority of the false refunds issued as a result of the scheme were directed to a bank account under the control of Michael Joseph or were sent in checks to the residence of Joseph’s mother to be later cashed.

Joseph is scheduled for sentencing before Judge Smoak on March 20, 2013 and faces the following maximum prison sentences: ten years in prison for Count One; five years in prison on each count for Counts Two through Twenty-eight; twenty years in prison for Count Twenty-nine, and ten years in prison on each violation alleged in Counts Thirty through Forty-six. This prosecution resulted from the collaborative investigative efforts of IRS Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the State Attorney’s Office for the 14th Judicial Circuit of Florida, and the Florida Department of Corrections. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers.

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) -- A prison inmate has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $50,000 from the government by using the identities of other inmates for false tax returns.

The News-Herald of Panama City reports Michael William Joseph III pleaded guilty to 41 charges including stealing government money, mail fraud and false tax returns on Thursday.

He is scheduled for a March 20 sentencing hearing where he faces up to 20 years in prison on the mail fraud charge.

Investigators say he submitted nearly $180,000 in false tax return claims from 2006 through 2008 while incarcerated at the Apalachee Correctional Institute in Sneads.

The government paid $51,298 of the claims. Investigators say they recovered $17,000 from his bank account and $11,600 buried in his mother's back yard in Tampa.


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