Updated: Wed, 15 Sep 2010 13:39:34 GMT | By The Canadian Press, thecanadianpress.com

Prison 'tax guy' gets 30 months for fraud

TORONTO - Canada Revenue Agency says a man has been sentenced to 30 months for running a tax fraud operation from his Toronto jail cell.

Michael Bannon, an inmate in the Toronto Jail, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud over $5,000.

Bannon participated in a tax scheme that involved the preparation and filing of false tax returns claiming a total of $1.8 million in fraudulent income tax and GST refunds.

Investigators found Bannon assisted in the preparation of 1,431 fraudulent personal income tax returns for 178 prison inmates.

Bannon claimed $704,684 in income tax refunds and filed fraudulent GST returns totalling $1.1 million.

Canada Revenue Agency says no income tax refunds were issued and $90,217 in GST refunds were sent out.

Bannon, who was known as the "tax guy" in prison, advised other inmates that he could prepare and file tax returns on their behalf.

He obtained personal information from inmates such as name, social insurance number, date of birth, and addresses, for the purpose of preparing the inmates' personal tax returns.

Bannon usually received prisoner canteen goods as payment for completing the tax returns.

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