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Planada man faces mail fraud charges for false tax returns
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A Planada man, who allegedly bilked more than $180,000 from the Internal Revenue Service with phony tax returns, is facing multiple counts of mail fraud, according to the Department of Justice.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment Tuesday charging Rafael Duran Garcia, 25, of Planada, with mail fraud and with filing false claims against the United States.

At his arraignment Wednesday in federal court, Garcia pleaded not guilty.

According to the indictment, Garcia submitted more than 100 false federal income tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service in the names of third parties, using fabricated W-2 forms containing false wage and withholding information, thereby claiming more than $180,000 in refunds.

The scheme was carried out between September 2007 and April 2009, according to the indictment.

If convicted, Garcia faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the mail fraud charges, and five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the false claims charges.

This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

Garcia’s next court date is Nov. 14.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.