Two prisoners at the Faribault state prison allegedly filed fake tax returns and encouraged other prisoners to do so as well, netting $400,000 in fraudulent claims before they were caught, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Tuesday.
Tony Terrell Robinson, 30, of Bayport, Minn., and Tanka James Tetzlaff, 39, of Duluth, were indicted by a federal grand jury on 21 counts of conspiracy and filing false claims.
The men were behind bars in Faribault in the fall of 2009 when they allegedly recruited other prisoners to file false claims using their names and Social Security numbers. The prisoners used false wage and federal income tax withholding information when filing taxes, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
The tax refunds, paid by check, were deposited directly into bank accounts or deposited onto debit card accounts. Three women not in prison received the checks and cashed them using a power-of-attorney agreement. The three women — Carmen Allen, Vanessa Walberg and Deeanna Crist — have all plead guilty to a conspiracy charge.