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Several Charged In $120 Million Florida Tax Fraud Scheme

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Seven people are facing federal tax fraud charges in Florida in a $120 million scheme authorities say involved clients in 30 states.

Prosecutors say the scam was based on the false argument that taxpayers are not responsible for debts such as home mortgages and credit card bills. The fraud involved seeking Internal Revenue Service tax refunds to pay those debts.

There were about 180 clients in the scheme and about 380 false tax returns were filed. Prosecutors say the scammers held seminars in Florida and Tennessee to recruit people.

Christopher Marrero of Davie, Fla., and Penny Jones of Rigby, Idaho, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal tax charges that could bring them maximum sentences of 215 years each in prison. Court hearings are upcoming for several other alleged fraud participants.

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