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Tax officials arrest Dunkirk man for filing false returns

A Dunkirk man has been arrested for filing fraudulent income tax returns, accused of claiming more than $225,000 in state and federal refunds by using the names and social-security numbers of dead people.

John Berry, 42, of North Ermine Street, was arrested on a felony charge of offering a false instrument and a misdemeanor charge of attempted grand larceny, according to a press release from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Working with the Internal Revenue Service, the Tax Department found that Berry filed 40 state income-tax returns and 122 federal ones in 2008 and 2009, claiming wages from a not-for-profit organization in Chautauqua County. The investigation revealed that the people listed on the W-2 forms were dead.

State tax officials claimed that Berry pleaded guilty to the IRS charges and is expected to be sentenced in October.