A federal jury convicted a New Jersey man today of conspiring with individuals in Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and New York in a “mortgage recovery” tax fraud scheme and for assisting in the filing of false returns, among other tax offenses.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, from March 2015 through 2016, John Barry Jr., of Pemberton, and his co-conspirators falsely represented to clients that they could extinguish their outstanding mortgage debts by obtaining tax refunds. To carry out the scheme, Barry and his co-conspirators filed forms with the IRS that fraudulently claimed that financial institutions had withheld and paid over to the IRS substantial taxes on behalf of Barry’s clients, even though no such payments had occurred. Barry then directed clients to file false tax returns that claimed significant refunds based upon the bogus tax withholdings. These false withholding claims caused the IRS to issue more than $3 million in refunds to clients. Barry typically charged each client a fee of between 20 and 35 percent of the refund the client obtained, and then split fees with some co-conspirators.

In addition to his participation in the “mortgage recovery scheme,” Barry did not file his own 2016 return despite earning income in excess of filing threshold, nor did Barry report or pay taxes on the income generated from the scheme in that tax year.

Barry is scheduled to be sentenced on December 1 and faces a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud the IRS, three years’ imprisonment for each count of aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns, three years’ imprisonment for obstructing the internal revenue laws, and one year of imprisonment for failing to file a tax return. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigations investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Sean M. Green and Samuel B. Bean of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case.