$256K tax fraud snares ex-CT man

BY Gregory Seay

A former Windsor man convicted of stealing $255,904 in a federal income-tax fraud faces three years in prison, prosecutors say.

Craig Francis, 44, also known as Horus Durjaya Bey, pleaded guilty Thursday in New Haven federal court to one of count of filing a false tax return, the Connecticut U.S. Attorney's office said.

Arrested last June in Kissimmee, Fla., Francis is free on $250,000 bond pending his sentencing, authorities said.

According to investigators, Francis in Feb. 2009 electronically filed his 2008 federal tax return in which he falsely inflated interest income collected and taxable income withheld by the government.

The result, investigators say, was that the Internal Revenue Service issued Francis a $255,904 refund before the fraud was detected. He was actually due a $4,073 refund.

Francis spent all but about $46,000 of the fraudulent refund within five weeks, before the IRS caught up to him, prosecutors said.

He later tried passing off to the IRS worthless bonds to settle his tax debt, which investigators say Francis has acknowledged now tops $380,448.06, with penalties and interest. He could be ordered to repay all or part of that sum at sentencing.

Neither Francis nor his attorney could be immediately reached Thursday for comment.