Anson County Resident Guilty of State Tax Charges; Receives Active Sentence

Date: 5/8/2003

RALEIGH – An Anson County woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in Wake County District Court to felony tax charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Frances Banks Barrier, 52, of Route 1, P.O. Box 436, Lilesville, received an active prison sentence after pleading guilty to seven counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. She admitted filing fraudulent individual income tax returns for tax years 1999, 2000 and 2001. The returns were based on fraudulent wage and tax statements from companies that either did not exist or had no record of Barrier’s employment. Bank records also showed that state refund checks were deposited into Barrier's business account under the name Jo-Fran Transport. Jo-Fran Transport is a trucking company owned and operated by Barrier and her husband.

Barrier also admitted to filing fraudulent 2000 and 2001 individual income tax returns for her deceased parents, James and Cora Porter. Based on the fraudulent returns, refunds totaling $31,496 were issued to Barrier's parents after their deaths. These refunds were mailed to the post office box previously used by the Porters, which Barrier has controlled since her father's death in 2000. Barrier's mother died in 1993.

Barrier also confessed to filing fraudulent income tax returns for her husband, son, and father-in-law dating back to 1997. State income tax refunds, based on fraudulently prepared tax returns, totaling $123,012.09 have been deposited into Barrier’s bank account since 1998. Bank video shows Barrier personally depositing the 2001 state tax refund checks totaling $68,382.

When Barrier realized that warrants had been sworn for her arrest in May 2002, she fled the state. She avoided arrest for 10 months until the Oregon State Police apprehended her during a traffic stop. She was extradited to North Carolina and held in the Wake County jail under a $250,000 bond.

Wake County District Judge Craig Croom sentenced Barrier to a 24-month minimum, 30-month maximum prison term with the North Carolina Department of Corrections. She was also ordered to pay restitution to the state during the 36 months of supervised probation that will begin after her sentence is completed.

The charges against Barrier resulted from an investigation by a special agent with the Department of Revenue's Criminal Investigations Division in Raleigh.


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