DETROIT, MI – A resident of Ferndale was sentenced to 114 months in federal prison on convictions connected to a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.
Receiving the sentence from U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy was Durand Micheau, 48. Judge Levy also imposed a 3-year term of supervised release and ordered Micheau to pay restitution in the amount of $360,500 to the U.S. Treasury.
Micheau was convicted by a jury in May 2017 on numerous counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and engaging in illegal monetary transactions. Micheau’s wife, Sharon Gandy-Michaeu, and two of her brothers, Anthony Gandy and Christopher Gandy, were convicted by a different jury on the same charges in March 2017. Last month Judge Levy sentenced Anthony Gandy to 80 months in prison and Sharon Gandy-Micheau to 72 months in prison. In August 2017, she sentenced Christopher Gandy to 72 months in prison.
The evidence presented at the trials established that the defendants participated in a scheme to defraud the federal government that centered on the filing of over 20 fraudulent Forms 1041, U.S. Income Tax Returns for Estates and Trusts. The returns requested over $1.4 million in refunds based on income tax withholdings that never occurred. The returns resulted in the IRS’s mailing 14 income tax refund checks to the defendants that were payable to the trusts and totaled $940,000. To facilitate the scheme, the defendants obtained employer identification numbers (EINs) for the trusts from the IRS, opened post office boxes, and opened bank accounts in the names of the trusts. The trusts did not exist. The U.S. Treasury refund checks were either deposited into the bank accounts, followed shortly thereafter by large cash withdrawals, or cashed at local check-cashing stores.
In addition, the scheme used the names and identification information of a number of individuals whose purses or wallets had been lost or stolen, and it depended on the assistance of some of the defendants’ close friends and acquaintances.
“These defendants attempted to steal taxpayer money, and they did so by using the identities of innocent victims,” U.S. Attorney Schneider said. “This case is yet another example of how the talented IRS agents in our district are detecting fraud and bringing offenders to justice.”
Special Agent-in-Charge Muriel added, “Our tax system is based on voluntary compliance and relies on the honor system to accurately report income and deductions. Anthony Gandy and his codefendants abused that honor system by creating fictitious tax withholdings in excess of $1.4 million. Today’s sentencing demonstrates that there are consequences for those who willfully file fraudulent returns.”