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2 charged for alleged NJ tax return scam

Wednesday - 10/23/2013, 4:40pm  ET

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Two people have been charged in what federal authorities say was a multi-million-dollar scheme to file fraudulent tax returns on behalf of prison inmates.

New Jersey's U.S. attorney announced charges Wednesday against Kamal J. James of Seaford, Del., and Manassas, Va., and Crystal G. Hawkins, of Seaford and Lakewood, N.J.

Authorities say the pair ran a purported tax preparation business called Release Refunds that sent advertising flyers to prisoners or those about to be released. Investigators say the pair promised tax refund money in exchange for customers sending in signed, but otherwise blank, IRS forms.

The pair allegedly filed 2,432 fraudulent returns for tax years 2009 through 2012, claiming approximately $4,402,288 in fraudulent refunds.

A message left for James' attorney was not immediately returned. Hawkins' attorney declined to comment.

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