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Florida man who filed 745 fraudulent tax returns in 19 states sentenced

Prosecutors say the Florida man owned two tax preparation companies and used one for legitimate clients and the second to submit fraudulent returns.
Credit: AP
FILE - April 13, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service Headquarters (IRS) building is seen in Washington. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Florida man has been sentenced to over four years in federal prison for filing hundreds of fake tax returns in several states, including Oregon, federal prosecutors said.

Damian Barrett of Homestead, Florida, filed 745 fake tax returns in 19 different states from 2015 to 2018, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Barrett, 40, owned two Florida-based tax preparation companies, Max Tax Experts LLC and Winngate Tax Services LLC, according to court documents. He used the first company to submit tax returns for legitimate clients and the second company to submit fraudulent income tax returns.

Barrett sought nearly $900,000 in fraudulent tax refunds and received over $234,000 — $130,000 of which came from the Oregon Department of Revenue. He had filed 348 tax returns with the state requesting more than $322,000 in refunds.

He also intentionally excluded more than $21,000 in income from his personal income tax return in 2016 and didn't file a personal income tax return in 2017.

In 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland indicted Barrett on mail fraud and laundering. He was later charged with mail fraud, filing a false tax return and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded guilty to all three charges.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon sentenced Barrett to 54 months in prison followed by three years of probation, according to prosecutors.

Simon also ordered Barrett to pay more than $234,000 in restitution to 11 states, including the taxing authorities in Arizona, Connecticut, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Carolina, and more than $74,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, prosecutors said.