21⁄2 year sentence for man in tax fraud case

Convict ordered to make $56,186 in restitution to IRS.

AKRON — Ronald Dean Wells was sentenced Tuesday to 21⁄2 years in prison for his involvement in a tax fraud scheme pulled off while a prisoner at the Trumbull Correctional Institution.

Wells, 46, of Columbus, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David D. Dowd Jr. to 32 months in federal prison that will run consecutively with a state prison term he is currently serving.

He is serving a 20-year to life sentence for aggravated murder at the Grafton Correctional Institution. He was convicted in 1984.

In addition, Judge Dowd ordered Wells to serve two years’ probation after his release from federal prison and pay $56,189 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

The fraud

John M. Siegel, an assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case, said Wells carried out the scheme from November 1996 through October 2002 while an inmate at TCI in Leavittsburg.

During tax years 2001 and 2002, Wells caused 35 fraudulent income tax returns to be filed with the IRS containing combined false tax refunds totaling $236,851, Siegel said.

Based on the false claims, the IRS issued 11 refund checks totaling $56,189.

Wells admitted getting the names and Social Security numbers from other state prisoners.

He arranged for persons outside of prison to assist him in the conspiracy, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.

Siegel said the help included opening financial accounts for Wells, using their addresses to receive refund checks, depositing funds in the accounts and disbursing funds from the accounts as Wells instructed.

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