Three Guilty in State Tax Fraud Scheme

Date: 4/5/2004

RALEIGH – Three local men entered guilty pleas to felony charges in the Department of Revenue’s continuing investigation of a fraudulent state tax refund scheme.

Mark Antoine Blandshaw, 35, of 606 North 30th St., Harlee Barsheen Tomer, 28, of 101 Asheton Road, both of Wilmington, and Danny Matthew Goodman, 36, of Leland, all pleaded guilty to obtaining property by false pretenses.

Blandshaw was sentenced to a six-month minimum, 12-month maximum prison term. The sentence was suspended and he was placed on supervised probation for 36 months, ordered to pay a $300 criminal fine, and perform 100 hours of community service. Blandshaw must also pay $604 in restitution to the Department of Revenue.

Tomer was sentenced to an active nine-month minimum, 11-month maximum prison tern with the North Carolina Department of Correction. He was immediately taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.

Goodman was sentenced to an eight-month minimum, 10-month maximum prison term. The sentence was suspended and he was placed on supervised probation for 36 month. He was ordered to serve a 25-day active sentence as a special condition of probation. In addition, Goodman must pay a $500 criminal fine, $1,170 in restitution and perform 40 hours of community service.

In each case, the state’s evidence showed that the individuals filed North Carolina individual income tax returns representing that they were employed by local businesses, received income from the businesses and had North Carolina income taxes withheld. The evidence further showed that Blandshaw, Tomer and Goodman were not employed by the businesses, did not receive the income and did not have taxes withheld as indicated on the tax returns. As a result of the information in the returns, the Department of Revenue issued income tax refunds totaling $2,460 that Blandshaw, Tomer and Goodman were not entitled to receive.

In a related matter, Cynthia Covington Blash, 47, 101 Asheton Road, Wilmington, was arrested March 30, 2004 and charged with three counts of obtaining property by false pretenses related to the same scheme. The arrest warrants allege that Blash filed false North Carolina individual income tax returns showing that she was employed by local businesses and had North Carolina income taxes withheld from her wages. The state alleges that Blash was not employed by the businesses and did not have taxes withheld by the companies. As a result of the returns, the Department of Revenue issued Blash income tax refunds totaling $1,143 that she was not entitled to receive. Blash made her first appearance in Wake County District Court on March 31, 2004 and is scheduled to appear again on April 21, 2004.

The charges against Blandshaw, Tomer, Goodman and Blash resulted from an investigation by a special agent with the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division in Raleigh. The investigation into this scheme continues and more arrests are expected. Anyone with information about individuals filing fraudulent North Carolina individual income tax returns using fictitious wage and tax statements should contact the Department of Revenue toll free at 1-800-232-4939.

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