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Buffalo man serving time in Ohio prison convicted of tax fraud

Clifton Jackson, 46, of Buffalo, who is already serving a 10-year prison in Ohio on a state drug conviction, faces up to another 10 years in federal prison after being convicted by a Buffalo jury Friday of trying to bilk the Internal Revenue Serving out of more than $550,000 in a fraudulent tax scheme.

After a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Geoffrey L. Crawford, Jackson was convicted of conspiracy to unlawfully use Social Security numbers, filing false tax returns, aggravated identity theft, misuse of Social Security numbers and theft of government property.

When returned to Buffalo for sentencing May 11, Jackson faces a possible 10 years in a federal facility after his Ohio term is completed and a fine of up to $250,000. He was taken back to jail after the jury verdict.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. said Jackson’s conviction for “his own version of a get-rich-quick scheme should serve as a warning that if someone offers something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The government does not give money away to individuals for providing simple information such as a name and a date of birth.”

Trial prosecutors Trina E. Ross and John E. Rogowski said Jackson talked more than 80 people into giving him needed personal information and promised them they would make money helping him on his filing of fraudulent tax returns with the IRS for the tax year 2011. During the trial the government presented more than 60 witnesses, including 20 people who were victimized by Jackson.

IRS spokesmen Michael Rivera and Thomas E. Bishop and Inspector Shelly Binkowski of the U.S. Postal Inspection Services, said the government has placed a top priority on investigating such identity theft-related tax schemes.

Bishop said Friday’s verdict “send a clear warning to anyone contemplating taking part in such a scheme.”

“These schemes will be uncovered and thoroughly investigated and the participants will face severe consequence and it should reassure honest taxpayers that the government is committed to devoting resources to fighting this problem,” Bishop added.