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Lawrenceville Couple Sentenced in 10-Year Tax Scheme

Stephen Paul Thomas and Patricia Denese Anderson of Lawrenceville, Ga. claimed not to be citizens of the United States to avoid paying taxes and later falsely claim $420,000 in refunds.

For 10 years, Stephen Paul Thomas, 46, and Patricia Denese Anderson, 51, of Lawrenceville, ran a tax defiance scheme against the IRS. On Thursday, the two were sentenced to serve time in federal prison. Thomas was sentenced to serve five years while Anderson was sentenced to four years and three months. Both were fined $10,000 and will have three years of supervised release.

The two were convicted in October following a six-day trial. They were convicted of conspiring to defraud the United States and making false claims upon the Internal Revenue Service.

Thomas and Anderson owned and operated an outdoor yard furnishing store and general contracting business in Duluth. The couple stopped filing federal income tax returns in the 1990's. According to United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, Thomas and Anderson and an agency they hired sent a number of "obstructive, frivolous and harassing documents to IRS and Department of Treasury officials instead of paying their taxes."

The couple also setup phony business bank accounts using fake tax identification numbers to hide funds.

In 2009, the husband and wife submitted two fraudulent tax returns claiming over $420,000 in refunds from the IRS.

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