Man who used fraud to draw refund gets 30 months in jail

A Josephine County man who sent off a fraudulent money order for $364,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, triggering an automatic refund of $285,000, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken also ordered the man, Zachary S. Rice, 39, to repay the money.

Rice, who sometimes uses the first name of Brian, also fraudulently obtained a passport and swindled several people out of thousands of dollars in a debt-relief scheme, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Rice was found guilty of theft of government property and making a false statement on a passport application, He was sentenced Wednesday in Eugene.

"(Rice) time after time tried to cheat the system and take advantage of others," U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall said.

Rice facilitated his schemes and avoided detection by changing his name and obtaining two passports.

To obtain the refund, he mailed the IRS a fictitious money order that allegedly was drawn on the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, triggering a refund to be issued to him when he filed his federal tax return.

The case was investigated by the IRS and U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service.

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