A Tacoma man who claimed more than $1.8 million in false income tax refunds pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. SEENEY RISTICK, 33, faces up to five years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle on September 8, 2014.
According to the plea agreement, between 2008 and 2013, RISTICK presented various fraudulent papers and forms to different tax preparation firms in Western Washington and directed the filing of bogus tax returns in his own name and the names of others, to include relatives and friends. To facilitate the scheme, RISTICK created false income journals and falsely claimed self-employment income and various tax credits, all with the intent to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. RISTICK typically approached the tax preparers by himself and presented fraudulent, and sometimes forged, powers of attorney, which purported to allow RISTICK to represent the named tax-filer in financial matters. At other times, he would accompany individuals to the tax preparation firms and assist them in filing the false tax return. RISTICK then charged the person for filing the false tax return between $500 and $1500 for the service he provides.
In all, RISTICK was involved in filing 524 fraudulent federal income tax returns, claiming a total of $1,826,944 in refunds. The U.S. Treasury paid out $1,584,398 before the fraud was uncovered. None of the money has been repaid.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Masada.