A federal jury in Columbia late Wednesday afternoon found five defendants guilty of committing various kinds of tax fraud in conspiring to get millions in IRS refunds and actually getting some $2 million before government agents discovered their scheme.
After five days of testimony and hearing from 27 government witnesses, the jury took just 90 minutes to find all five guilty of 36 out of 37 counts of charges related to various kinds of federal tax fraud. They will be sentenced at a later date.
During the trial, two of the five defendants took the witness stand to describe what even their lawyers admitted was a bizarre scheme whereby the defendants asserted their belief that the U.S. government has large stashes of cash accessible by people with secret knowledge of how to file the correct IRS forms.
The defendants face 10 or more years in prison each.