MACHIAS, Maine — A Cherryfield woman has been sentenced to serve nine months and a day in prison and ordered to pay $28,318 in restitution after pleading guilty earlier this month to filing fraudulent state and federal tax forms.
Amy Metcalf-Perry, 41, pleaded guilty to an eight count indictment that charged her with theft by deception, attempted theft by deception and forgery, according to Tim Feeley, special assistant to Maine’s Attorney General Janet T. Mills. Feeley added that Metcalf-Perry had actually filed nearly 100 false and fraudulent tax returns.
Superior Court Justice Robert Murray convicted Metcalf-Perry on May 8 in Washington County Superior Court after she pleaded guilty. Murray sentenced her to four years in prison with all but nine months and a day suspended, and to three years probation.. She will serve her sentence in a Maine correctional facility beginning on May 24.
Assistant Attorney General Gregg Bernstein, who handled the case, said Monday that between 2007 and 2010, Metcalf-Perry prepared and filed nearly 100 fraudulent federal and Maine income tax returns, along with Maine Property Tax and Rent Refund applications. Most of those were denied, Bernstein said.
Metcalf-Perry falsified income, withholding, contact, and identity information, and prepared and filed the fraudulent returns electronically, with refunds to be direct deposited to a bank account.
“This is simply theft, theft from the state of Maine treasury and the United States Treasury,” Bernstein said. The $28,318 in restitution represents the actual funds that Metcalf-Perry was able to obtain. He said it represented a combination of both state and federal filings.
Feeley said, “Despite the volume of electronic and written returns filed by taxpayers each year, Maine Revenue Services was able to discover and halt Metcalf-Perry’s tax filing scheme and prevent most of the attempted thefts. During its investigation, Maine Revenue Services also discovered Metcalf-Perry filed fraudulent federal income tax returns, and this prosecution included the theft of the federal funds.”
Bernstein said Maine Revenue Services is currently investigating almost 100 similar cases of fraudulent returns with similar characteristics by other parties.
“Our government relies upon citizens to file honest income tax returns. Efforts to make income tax return filing easier and less time consuming for citizens, through electronic filing and direct deposit must not be abused by individuals determined to steal from state and federal treasuries,” said Attorney General Janet T. Mills in a prepared statement. “My office will continue to work with Maine Revenue Services and federal authorities to pursue and prosecute those who attempt to steal tax money or defraud the state.”