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State of California Franchise Tax Board

Businessman Gets Prison for State Income Tax Fraud

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For Immediate Release


Sacramento —A Los Angeles area man was sentenced today to three years in state prison for income tax refund fraud, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced.

Kessler “Corky” Wyatt, aka Corky Kessler, aka Erick Kessler, 70, was found guilty in October of 14 counts of state income tax fraud, two counts of negotiating fraudulent state income tax refund checks, and one count of grand theft.

According to court documents, Wyatt was a self-employed job placement recruiter, who used his knowledge of payroll systems and recruiting skills to create the refund fraud scheme. During 1999 - 2002, Wyatt prepared and filed false wage and withholding statements. He then recruited others to file fraudulent state income tax returns resulting in the fraudulent refunds being issued. Wyatt spent most of the money on maintaining his lavish lifestyle.

Wyatt was also ordered to pay the state nearly $200,000 in restitution representing the fraudulent refunds, penalties, interest, and the cost of the investigation. An FTB investigator discovered the scheme through a tip and conducted an investigation.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy handed down today’s sentencing in Department 109 of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney James Belna prosecuted the case.

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