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Fair Oaks lawyer who filed fraudulent tax returns in NFL player’s name sentenced

This photo made on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Zelienople, Pa., shows mulitiple forms printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page that are used for 2018 U.S. federal tax returns. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
This photo made on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Zelienople, Pa., shows mulitiple forms printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page that are used for 2018 U.S. federal tax returns. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) AP

A Fair Oaks tax lawyer who prepared and filed fraudulent returns for his NFL player client was sentenced Monday to three years in federal prison for stealing more than $1.2 million in refunds.

Hiram M. Martin, 71, represented retired NFL safety Antrel Rolle, who played for the New York Giants, the Chicago Bears and the Arizona Cardinals. According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, Martin submitted false tax returns for Rolle, stole the refunds, and filed false documents with the IRS to cover up the scheme.

Martin pleaded guilty Jan. 7 to one felony count of attempting to obstruct or impede the administration of internal revenue laws, according to the release. The three-year sentence is the maximum for the offense, and Martin has also been ordered to pay back more than $1.2 million in restitution.

The falsified tax returns claimed millions of dollars in fake charitable deductions and business expenses, and Rolle was never informed of the false claims, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Martin also tried to prevent the IRS from contacting Rolle by listing his own personal and business addresses as Rolle’s.

The IRS issued a $322,008 refund for the 2005 tax year and a $901,472 refund for the 2006 tax year, the release said. Martin directed the IRS to deposit the returns into his own bank account or to mail the checks to his mailing address, and used the money “for his own personal benefit,” the release said.

In 2009, the IRS began auditing Rolle’s returns for those years, and Martin faxed two letters to the IRS attempting to support the faked donations, the release said. Martin, without Rolle’s authorization, then filed petitions in Tax Court challenging the IRS when it rejected the donations, and forged Rolle’s signature on the tax court petitions.

In May 2011, Martin agreed to a judgment that imposed a tax liability of nearly $2 million on Rolle, again withour Rolle’s knowledge or authorization. Martin also provided Rolle with false 2005 and 2006 tax returns, which claimed no refunds, the release said.

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