A Suwanee man who had been warned that his tax return was “frivolous” was convicted Wednesday by a federal jury on charges related to trying to claim a $1.7 million tax refund.
Donus R. Sroufe, 55, was found guilty of interfering with the administration of the revenue laws and making a false claim for a tax refund, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta announced. The filing a false claim charge, which is the more serious of the two, carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Prosecutors said that on his individual income tax return for 2008, Sroufe claimed that he received $2.5 million from a U.S. Treasury bond and paid more than $2.6 million in federal taxes — but the bond was a fake and he had not paid any income taxes for that year.
He was warned in April 2009 by the IRS that his return was “frivolous” and he could face a penalty, and in June of that year, two IRS special agents told him that the bond appeared to be fraudulent. But two months later, he mailed a copy of the same tax return to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, along with a copy of the bogus bond, and demanded a $1.7 million refund, prosecutors said.
“Millions of Americans file their tax returns honestly every year, while Mr. Sroufe tried to defraud the Government out of $1.7 million dollars,” United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates in the news release. “Fortunately, the IRS intercepted the return and, as a result, no taxpayer funds were paid out.”