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Suwanee man found guilty of tax fraud

ATLANTA -- A Suwanee man was convicted by a federal jury on Wednesday of filing a false and frivolous tax return that claimed he was owed a $1.7 million refund.

Donus R. Sroufe, 55, in 2009 claimed the refund after he falsely said he received $2.5 million from a U.S. Treasury bond, and that he paid more than $2.6 million in federal taxes, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said. But the bond was fake and Sroufe didn't pay any income taxes for 2008, Yates said.

The IRS notified Sroufe in April 2009 that his 2008 tax return was frivolous, and warned him he could face a penalty for filing a false return. Yates said Sroufe ignored the warning and in August 2009 mailed an identical copy of the same return to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

On Wednesday, Sroufe was found guilty of interfering with the administration of the revenue laws and for making a false claim for a tax refund.

Sroufe is scheduled for sentencing on May 30 and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for the most serious charge, which is filing a false claim.

"Fortunately, the IRS intercepted the return and, as a result, no taxpayer funds were paid out," Yates said. "Given the present climate with the federal budget, it is critically important to prevent fraudsters from stealing tax funds instead of paying them."