Two New Jersey men stand accused of filing false federal income tax returns on behalf of county jail inmates who used the refund money they received to pay for bail, lawyers and other expenses.
Federal prosecutors said Reginald Eaford, 45, and Winfred Moses, 48, both of East Orange, are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and aggravated identity theft. Moses was due to make his initial court appearance on Monday afternoon, but a hearing date for Eaford has not been scheduled.
Both Eaford and Moses could face up to seven years in prison if convicted on both counts. It was not known Monday if either man has retained a lawyer.
Eaford was an inmate at the Essex County Jail from May 2013 through February 2014, prosecutors said. During that time, law enforcement officials noticed that Eaford had deposited unusually large amounts of money into his inmate account.
Through a review of the recorded telephone calls and records maintained by the jail, authorities said they learned that Eaford, Moses and others had conspired to obtain personal information from other jail inmates. They say Eaford and Moses would then generate false W-2 forms indicating the inmates had earned income during the relevant tax year and that federal income tax had been withheld from their paychecks.
Eaford and Moses would then file false federal income tax returns on behalf of the inmates, and the refund checks would be sent to the jail or Moses’ home. The proceeds of the fraud were split among Eaford, Moses and the relevant inmates.
During the investigation, current and former inmates at the jail told officials that the proceeds were used to pay for bail, lawyers or other needs.