A Dunkirk man was arrested and pleaded guilty to filing 40 false state income tax returns and asked for $200,000 in illegal refunds from the federal government from 2008 to 2009, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner announced today.
John Berry, 42, claimed wages on W-2s from people who were found by the Tax Department to be dead for a not-for-profit business located in Chautauqua County, the Tax Department claims.
Berry was charged with Offering a False Instrument in the first degree, a class E felony and Attempted Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, a class A misdemeanor by the Criminal Investigations Division of the NYS Tax department, Gannett’s Ashley Hupfl reports.
The Tax Department and the Internal Revenue Service claim during that same time period Berry filed for $200,000 in 122 Federal tax returns again using Social Security numbers from the deceased. Berry filed for $25,194 in New York State from 40 income tax returns in 2008 and 2009.
“It appears the defendant clearly set out to steal on a regular basis from the State, and by doing so, cheat all the taxpayers of New York who pay their fair share,” said New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas Mattox in a statement.
The state reports that 4 percent of all taxes are collected through the Tax Department are sent to programs to be investigated for veracity.
Berry is currently released on his own recognizance and faces sentencing on Oct. 15 at Dunkirk City Court.