Sayreville man charged with defrauding the U.S. through filing of false claims

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A Sayreville man was charged on Sept. 24 for his role in a scheme to defraud the IRS by making false claims for income tax refunds and conspiracy.

Luis Crespo, 42, is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims and with filing false, fictitious and fraudulent claims, according to information provided by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Crespo was allegedly part of a conspiracy led by Michael Watsey, who orchestrated a scheme to file false claims or cause the filing of false claims, namely the filing of 16 false tax returns from 2014-17.

Watsey, who pleaded guilty on Jan. 3, created false Forms W2-G, which showed significant gambling winnings and federal tax withheld, according to the statement.

Alleged participants in this scheme were Watsey, his family members, Crespo and other associates, according to the statement.

Watsey filed or caused the filing of 16 false tax returns with false Forms W2-G, requesting a total of $3.9 million in false federal tax refunds with a total of $1.29 million actually being received. Crespo allegedly used false Forms W2-G created by Watsey in the filing of his 2016 and 2017 false tax returns.

Those returns requested a total of $508,787 in false federal tax refunds with a total of $510,668 actually being paid by the IRS, according to the statement.

The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The false, fictitious or fraudulent claims counts each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.