South River man admits defrauding IRS out of $1.4M


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SOUTH RIVER–A South River admitted his role in a conspiracy to defraud the United States by filing false tax claims for gambling winnings.

Michael Watsey, 43, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson on Jan. 3 in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims, according to a prepared statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of New Jersey.

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According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Watsey admitted he was involved in a conspiracy with his family members and others to file 16 fraudulent U.S. Income Tax Returns for years 2014 through 2016. He and his conspirators created false W2-G forms to report gambling winnings, showing significant winnings and federal tax withheld by casinos in Atlantic City.

The 16 false tax returns falsely claimed $3.9 million in federal tax refunds. The IRS paid out $1.3 million in refunds.

Watsey admitted to creating the false forms on his home computer, preparing false documents to send the IRS after tax refunds were questioned, pretending to be a casino host by phone with an IRS representative and devising a way to have false W2-G forms filed with the IRS.

The charge to which Watsey pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 7.


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