NORTH PORT — Federal authorities charged a couple from North Port with conspiring to defraud the IRS out of nearly $2.6 million in illegal tax returns.
James Dee Jaeger, 62, and Lora Anne Jaeger, 50, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office. The couple, the release states, was also charged with seven counts of causing false and fraudulent claims for tax refunds to be filed with the IRS.
The Jaegers, according to the indictment, devised and participated in a scheme to help “taxpayers,” including themselves, obtain fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS. The scheme, authorities contend, was premised upon the redemption theory. That's a fraudulent notion that individuals aren't responsible for common personal debt obligations like home mortgages, unpaid credit card bills and lines of credit, and may instead seek money from the IRS to repay these outstanding obligations.
Prosecutors say the couple, in total, filed at least 15 fraudulent tax returns that sought $2.58 million in refunds. The indictment, according to the release, further alleges the Jaegers instructed taxpayers on how to conceal fraudulent tax refunds and how to frustrate lawful collection efforts of the IRS.
Each defendant, if convicted, faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for the conspiracy charge and five years for each false claim charge.