Milwaukee woman charged with false $3 million trust tax return

There was a time in Milwaukee where thieves would use other people’s identities to make false statements to steal refunds totaling from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

As the IRS tried to crack down on so-called Stolen Identity Reimbursement Fraud, or SIRFthe thieves appear to have supercharged the scam by turning to filing false statements for trusts.

In the latest case, a Milwaukee woman was charged with filing a pair of statements seeking reimbursements of $13 million. She, like others, didn’t get it all, but still managed to get the IRS to send a check for $3.25 million, money that prosecutors will now try to recover.

Janeen Rogers, 54, is charged with wire fraud, participating in an illegal monetary transaction and filing a false claim. His first appearance in federal court is scheduled for May 25.

According to an indictment:

From fall 2019 to March 2020, Rogers prepared income tax returns for two entities for the years 2017 and 2018, using commercial tax preparation software. Only one entity is identified, as Noble Sun Trust. She falsified income earned, taxes withheld and reimbursements to which they were entitled, before having the reimbursements transferred to a bank account she controlled.

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The indictment says the two returns sought refunds totaling $13 million. A return she filed in November 2019 for Noble Sun Trust, for the 2017 tax year, claimed a refund of $3.25 million, and the IRS sent Rogers a refund check.

In January 2020, Rogers drew a check for $32,101.44 from the Noble Sun Trust account at JP Morgan Chase bank and sent it to CarMax to purchase a 2017 GMC Acadia Denali.

The government is seeking forfeiture of any money obtained by Rogers through the scheme, or other assets obtained with the proceeds of the scheme, including the vehicle purchased from CarMax.

In a similar case from 2019, federal prosecutors said Francis Burns filed false claims for his own Francis Burns Trust seeking some $82 million in reimbursement. In his case, the IRS only sent him about $3.7 million before someone found out and rejected his subsequent attempts to “change” the returns and seek even larger refunds. .

With the money he stole, prosecutors say, Burns bought a $750,000 house in Chicago and a $70,000 Mercedes limo in Las Vegas. They say Burns posted on Facebook about his tax activities, even a photo of his big refund check and that he had become a millionaire.

Burns has defended himself for much of the ongoing case. His pleadings suggest he believes he is a “sovereign citizen” not subject to US courts, and featured convoluted, pseudo-legal ramblings, and are often signed with a red thumbprint.

In Georgia in 2020, federal prosecutors indicted Marquet Antwain Burgess Mattox, who used multiple aliases and filed false statements for a dozen different trusts seeking more than $165 million in refunds. He obtained more than $5 million in two reimbursements on bogus trusts.

Mattox, who acted as his own attorney and tried to bring several common legal defenses for the Moorish Sovereign Citizen movement, was found guilty by a jury in August and is awaiting sentencing.

Several of the bogus trusts filed by Mattox bore names commonly used by members of the Moorish National Republic or the Moorish Sovereign Citizen Movement.

The trust in the last Milwaukee case was called the Noble Sun Trust. A man who registered as an administrator, Terry LeNoir, claimed in an eviction case to be a sovereign citizen and a member of the Moorish National Republic. He could not be reached for this story.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Moorish Sovereign Citizens as anti-government groups and individuals who believe African Americans are an elite class immune to American laws, and who often engage in “paper terrorism” with various government officials via fake legal documents.

A pair of IRS spokespersons said they were unaware of the trust tax filing fraud as charged in all three cases, and had no access immediately to the statistics on the problem. Federal prosecutors in Milwaukee and Washington, DC, declined to discuss the cases or the general nature of the fraud.

Contact Bruce Vielmetti at (414) 224-2187 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ProofHearsay.