Wednesday, March 14, 2012

4th and 26

He is known for an NFL playoff game in 2004. The Eagles were playing Green Bay. It was fourth quarter. The Eagles were trailing with 1:12 remaining, 4th down and 26 yards to go for a first down.  NFL fans call this a “long shot.” He ran a slant, the Green Bay Cover 2 defense broke down, and Donovan McNabb connected with him for a 26-yard play. The play set up a David Akers field goal, which led to overtime, which led to a win for the Eagles.
The player?  Freddie Mitchell, a wide receiver.
Why are we talking about him? Because he is likely to go to jail for tax fraud.
Freddie associated himself with two people – Jamie Russ-Walls and her husband, Richard Walls. Jamie fancied herself a tax expert. For a period between 2009 and 2010, Freddie used his football contacts to lure unsuspecting athletes to Jamie, who promised them all kinds of tax refunds because she was – well, a tax expert! She and her husband prepared returns claiming refunds between $170,000 and $1.9 million. They were not deterred by things like actual W-2s. No sir. They would forge W-2s to get the refunds they promised. If not a W-2, they would manufacture a Schedule C (self-employed) to show business losses.
Freddie was the face. His job was to recruit clients.
The three had agreed to share any tax refunds they received.
These three were geniuses. What could possibly go wrong?
Freddie recruited an athlete we will call A.G. Freddie had A.G. pay $100,000 as a down payment for his 2008 tax return and 2006 and 2007 amended returns.
OBSERVATION: I have never seen a $100,000 individual income tax return. I have seen yachts with professional crews, mansions in Wyoming, airplanes, overseas residences, FLPs, rolling GRATS, skip trusts, charitable leads and a number of other high-end tax planning vehicles, but I have never seen a $100,000 individual income tax return.
Freddie and crew prepared a tax refund claim for $1,968,288.
A.G. was not the only client. The indictment cites five other tax returns claiming refunds over $2.2 million.
This will not turn out well for Freddie. There will be no “4th and 26” this time.

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