Georgia man pleads guilty to running nationwide tax evasion program |

ATLANTA – A Georgian pleaded guilty on Wednesday to promoting a tax evasion scheme to more than 200 participants in 19 states.

Iran V. Backstrom, also known as Shariyf Noble, of Milledgeville, also pleaded guilty to helping others prepare and file false income tax returns for people hired under the program.

Backstrom was the main promoter of the scheme, which involved recruiting clients and preparing false tax returns on their behalf by convincing them that their mortgages and other debts entitled them to tax refunds, according to court documents.

He and his co-conspirators held seminars across the country between 2014 and 2016 to publicize the program.

Backstrom helped prepare and file tax returns for participants, who collectively requested more than $ 25 million in refunds from the Internal Revenue Service.

The statements incorrectly claimed that banks and other financial institutions withheld large sums of income tax from participants, thus entitling them to a refund. In fact, financial institutions had neither paid nor withheld taxes from those involved in the scheme.

As part of his plea, Backstrom admitted to giving orders to others as part of the scheme. Several of his co-conspirators had previously pleaded guilty for their roles.

Backstrom further admitted that he and his co-conspirators charged participants $ 10,000 to $ 15,000 for the preparation of each tax return. Although Backstrom personally received $ 1 million for his role in the scheme, he did not file tax returns for the years 2014, 2015, and 2016 to report the income.

Backstrom faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States and three years in prison on each of the seven counts of aiding and assisting in preparing and filing a false income statement. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and financial penalties.

A U.S. District Court judge will decide the sentencing at a later date.

This story is available through a partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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