Charges: 2 Minnesotans, others filed 1,000-plus returns totaling $6.9M in refunds

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 24, 2013 - 8:35 PM

Two Minnesotans are among four men charged with creating false identification information and bogus tax-preparation businesses, then conspiring with others to file more than 1,000 federal returns that poured out nearly $7 million in refunds.

Indicted Tuesday in federal court in Minneapolis were Ronnie Bussell, 28, of St. Paul; Christopher Torh, 26, of North St. Paul; Junior Tervil, 28, of North Miami, Fla.; and Frantz Pierre, 33, of Parkland, Fla.

They are all charged with conspiracy to defraud the federal government. Pierre also is charged with money laundering.

According to the indictment, from July 2010 to May 2011, the four used other people’s personal information to create false 2009 and 2010 federal income tax returns that claimed refunds. They created false W-2 forms showing fabricated amounts of earnings and tax withholdings.

In total, the four and others they recruited filed 1,066 false returns that claimed about $6.9 million in refunds.

To receive the refunds, they set up fake businesses in Minnesota that claimed to prepare the returns. Bank accounts were opened for each fake business, and the refunds were electronically deposited into those accounts.

Pierre is accused of using some of the money to make a $216,000 down payment on a home near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with seven bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and a pool. He has been ordered to forfeit that property to the federal government as part of this case.

Among those who said they were working for Pierre was Nunziata Williams, 33, of Eagan, who pleaded guilty last fall to defrauding the federal government by setting up fake businesses and bank accounts.

The crimes of the onetime manager of the 400 Soundbar in downtown Minneapolis led to more than $500,000 in refunds. Williams has yet to be sentenced.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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