A Philadelphia man has been indicted for using the federal stimulus plan for tax fraud. It’s the first prosecution of this type in the region.
Jonathan Brownlee is accused of falsifying tax returns of people to collect stimulus tax credits for homes they never purchased. Assistant US Attorney Floyd Miller says Brownlee preyed on unemployed people through a front company. He’s accused of using the company to scam people out of their Social Security numbers.
“He got their names and their addresses and prepared these returns making them appear as they were all self employed,” said Miller. “They were electronically filed with the Internal Revenue service with the request that the returns be electronically deposited into several bank accounts which he either controlled or had access to.”
Miller says some banks discovered the scheme and issued hard checks to make a paper trail for federal authorities to follow. Brownlee could face a maximum of 80 years in federal prison if convicted.