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Rocky Mount man pleads guilty to federal charges

As adults, we often catch ourselves lending advice to our children or the young people in our lives. Sometimes, this advice comes from a place of personal experience. Adages such as, "do as I say, not as I do" or "learn from my mistakes," are offered to young people in order to teach them how to live an honest life.

Many in North Carolina may now see the words of a local man who encouraged area youth to live a crime-free life as hypocritical. The Rocky Mount business owner utilized YouTube and local media to dissuade young people in the community to not get involved with illegal activities. In a YouTube clip published last November the man stated, "I want all my young people to think before you act. Trouble is too easy to get into, and once you get into trouble, you'll be all by yourself."

According to attorneys for the U.S. Justice Department, the man is being charged with conspiracy and fraud for his alleged part in filing over 300 falsified tax returns for his clients.

According to court documents, the man "manipulated" data for low-income tax clients from February 2010 to October 2012. It is claimed that he reported false information pertaining to his client's dependents, interest income and tax withholdings. The fraudulent tax return would then net the client more money for their Earned Income Tax Credit and final tax refund as well as thousands of dollars in illegal income for the defendant.

The man pleaded guilty earlier this month to filing false tax returns and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. He may be penalized for as much as $500,000 in fines and spend as many as 13 years in prison.

Many white collar crimes, such as fraud or conspiracy, are prosecuted in the federal court system. Individuals convicted of federal offenses may face lengthy incarceration in a federal prison, in addition to hefty fines. It is important for anyone being investigated for or accused of a federal offense to seek out the advice of an attorney who is qualified to practice within the federal courts.

Source: WRAL.com, "Rocky Mount man faces prison after hyping crime-free living," Cullen Browder, Aug. 5, 2013

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