Prisoner Receives $215,000 Refund from IRS

Any law-abiding, tax-paying citizen might be delighted, if not shocked, to receive a $215,000 tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service, but it seems like an awful lot for a prisoner to get.

John Wesley Sarpy pleaded guilty earlier this month to filing a false claim when he sent in a tax return from prison, claiming $213,000 refund after showing 2001 earnings of $987,219 and tax withholdings totaling $576,495.

In fact, Sarpy, 31, had earned just $16,752 and paid $3,287 in withholding taxes before he was locked up for auto theft at the Buena Vista Correctional Facility.

The return amount rose to $215,000 when the IRS saw that he hadn’t included a standard deduction for himself and added an additional $2,000 to his return.

The error was found when his fiancée tried to cash the check and bank employees called the authorities.

John Harrison, an IRS agent in Colorado, told the DenverChannel.com that the IRS usually identifies fake claims before checks are issued. "He's somewhat unique," Harrison said.

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