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Former Wisconsin man charged in Florida tax ring

  • Associated Press
  • April 24, 2014 - 10:45 AM

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. — A former Wisconsin man who served more than 10 years in a Florida prison for a homicide he didn't commit is now accused of being involved in income tax conspiracy.

Chad R. Heins has been charged in federal court in Florida with theft and conspiracy to defraud the government. The indictment said he and seven others are accused as part of an alleged ring to file false tax returns, the Daily Tribune Media reported (http://wrtnews.co/1l7dTam ).

Heins, 39, is originally from Nekoosa. He was convicted in the 1994 death of his sister-in-law and served more than a decade in Florida prison. The Wisconsin-based Innocence Project was able to arrange DNA testing that identified another suspect, and Heins was released in 2007.

"It (the system) didn't work in the beginning, but it worked at the end," Heins said at the time as he left the Duval County Jail. "I made it one day at a time and watched my back. I just want to go home to my family and get out of the state of Florida."

Online Wisconsin court records show he was living in Nekoosa as recently as February 2013.

Now he's accused of communicating with two Florida inmates by telephone as part of a tax conspiracy. One inmate has since died, but the other, along with five more, are accused of working together to file the false returns.

The tax refunds they received were placed into several bank accounts, including several in Heins' name, the indictment said. The refunds ranged in amounts from about $5,800 to nearly $25,000, and totaled about $6.8 million.

Online court records didn't list a defense attorney for Heins.

He was previously convicted in Wisconsin of abandoning an animal. Authorities said he backed over a kitten with his pickup truck and then put the injured animal inside a plastic bag and threw it in a garbage can.

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