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Springfield woman sent to prison for tax fraud

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A Springfield woman was sentenced yesterday for her role in a tax fraud conspiracy that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars lost to the federal government.

Carolyn Cobb, 56, pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government, two counts of presenting a false claim and one count of theft of government property. U.S. District Judge Douglas Harpool ordered Cobb to spend six years and five months in federal prison without parole and pay $215,184 in restitution, according to a news release from the office of Timothy Garrison, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Co-defendants Nancy Walker, 56, and Clementine Lockett, 43, both of Springfield, also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. They await sentencing.

From January 2010 to April 23, 2013, the trio submitted federal income tax returns containing false claims to receive refunds they were not entitled to. In total, they submitted $718,927 in false claims for federal income tax refunds. Cobb’s involvement caused $597,769 of that total to be submitted. The co-conspirators actually received $317,498 in refunds, according to the release.

Cobb, Walker and Lockett used identification, including their names and Social Security numbers, and Turbo Tax to prepare and electronically file the false tax returns. They used fictitious IRS W-2 forms, listing employers that did not employ them and wages they did not earn, according to the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Clark, and it was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, according to the release.

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