Last of 4 defendants in tax fraud conspiracy gets 30 months in prison

By Peter H. Milliken


The last of four defendants in a major tax-fraud conspiracy case is going to prison for 30 months and will have to make $49,976 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Heather L. English, 43, of Warren, formerly of Canfield, drew the sentence Wednesday from U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Gaughan.

She will be on supervised release for two years after she leaves prison.

English had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return.

Although the prosecution and defense agreed that sentencing guidelines called for her imprisonment for 30 to 37 months, English’s federal public defenders, Darin Thompson and Carlos Warner, asked the judge to consider the fact English has no prior criminal record and has four sons, ranging in age from 4 to 20.

She already has repaid the government the $7,300 she and her husband received from a false tax refund.

In a sentencing memorandum, the defense lawyers also described English as remorseful and noted that she was a bookkeeper for Steven R. Hinz, 41, formerly of Youngstown, the purported ringleader in the scheme.

The judge sentenced Hinz last week to serve nine years in prison and pay $544,582 in restitution.

Two other defendants were sentenced in January: Patricia A. Polk, 50, of Youngstown, 21 months in prison and $324,531 in restitution; and William E. Phillips III, 55, formerly of Youngstown, one year and one day in prison and $107,518 in restitution.

All four defendants pleaded guilty in October.

The indictment says Hinz promoted a scheme to defraud the government by filing false federal income-tax returns claiming large tax refunds using the original-issue discount process.

The scheme involved preparation of fictitious IRS forms that falsely reported that financial institutions, creditors and other entities, had withheld large sums of federal income tax on behalf of defendants and other taxpayers with respect to nonexistent income, the U.S. attorney said.

The FBI and IRS investigated the case, which was prosecuted by John Siegel, an assistant U.S. attorney.

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