Steven Hinz gets 9 years for tax, mortgage fraud

By Peter H. Milliken


A former Youngstown man who promoted tax-and mortgage-fraud conspiracy schemes has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison and ordered to make $544,582 in restitution.

Steven R. Hinz, 41, formerly of North Heights Avenue, who the U.S. attorney said was the ringleader in the schemes, drew the sentence Wednesday from U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Gaughan.

The judge ordered Hinz to make $458,302 in restitution to Wells Fargo Bank, $36,211 to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and $50,069 to the IRS.

He’ll be on three years of supervised release after he leaves prison.

Hinz, who was arrested in Miami in January 2012, had pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to defraud the United States, making a false 2008 income-tax return and 15 counts of assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud involving a mortgage fraud scheme.

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.

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

The last of the four defendants, Heather L. English, 43, of Canfield, who is free on a $20,000 unsecured bond, will be sentenced at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday .

The case was investigated by the FBI, IRS and HUD.

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