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Ex-Bill faces prison after plea to role in filing false tax returns

A former Buffalo Bills running back faces a possible prison term of 12 to 18 months after pleading guilty to tax fraud charges in Buffalo's federal court.

Darick Holmes, 38, admitted that he helped other people file bogus federal tax returns. Investigators said Holmes then received a cut of the money they got back from the government.

Holmes, now living in Pasadena, Calif., pleaded guilty to 15 felony tax fraud counts.

The former Bill also told U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott that he walks with a cane because he was shot in the leg in California earlier this year. Holmes gave no further information about the shooting.

He admitted that, in 2004 and 2005, he and another man helped more than 10 people in Buffalo file false tax returns to cheat the Internal Revenue Service.

"[Holmes] admitted that he provided people with false W-2 forms and information on how to file fraudulent tax returns," Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul J. Campana said. "The people who filed these false returns either didn't work at all, or they did not work for the companies listed on the W-2 forms."

Holmes, who played with the Bills in the years 1995-98, was charged last year after an investigation by the IRS criminal division.

In May, Darryle Buckner of Buffalo, Holmes' partner in the scheme, was sentenced to a year in federal prison after also pleading guilty.

The government alleges that the fraudulently claimed refunds totaled $70,000, and prosecutors are seeking $53,000 restitution from Holmes, Campana said.

His sentencing date has not been scheduled.

Holmes rushed for 1,383 yards during his Bills career and scored 10 touchdowns.

e-mail: dherbeck@buffnews.com

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