NASHVILLE, Tenn. – August 26, 2020 – A Nashville man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court for two separate fraud schemes, one involving stolen tax refund checks and the other involving bank fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Charles Burnett, 34, was sentenced to a total of 54 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release.
Burnett was initially charged in September 2018 with conspiracy to steal government funds and aggravated identity theft after an investigation determined that he conspired with others to steal federal income tax refund checks. Between June 2014 and May 2017, Burnett directed others to open bank accounts and shell entities to deposit the stolen checks. Burnett himself, incorporated CB Entertainment and Marketing, LLC and opened a business bank account for the sole purpose of depositing stolen tax refund checks. Burnett and his co-conspirators stole $636,366.68 in tax refund checks, but they were only successful in obtaining $271,712.04.
Burnett pleaded guilty to this scheme in November 2018 and while awaiting sentencing, in March 2019, he embarked upon another scheme which would defraud local banks. Burnett opened a series of bank accounts, seeded those accounts with money, spent that money or moved it to another account he controlled, and then claimed fraud so the defrauded banks would reimburse him. In February of this year, Burnett was arrested and charged with bank fraud. He pleaded guilty to this scheme in April and has been in custody pending today’s sentencing. Burnett was also ordered to pay $271,712.04 in restitution and to forfeit $252,346.44 in the case involving stolen tax refund checks; and $21,086.46 in restitution and a forfeiture in the same amount involving the bank fraud case.
This case was investigated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration; the United States Secret Service and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Levine prosecuted the case.
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