A Nebraska couple has been sentenced to six years in federal prison for tax fraud.
David Kleensang, age 61, and Bernita Kleensang, age 59, of Hay Springs, Nebraska were sentenced Monday in Federal District Court.
David Kleensang was convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of endeavoring to obstruct the due administration of the Internal Revenue laws, and 13 counts of presenting false claims to the United States.
Bernita Kleensang was convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and six counts of presenting false claims to the United States. The Kleensangs were further ordered to serve three years of supervised release following their release from prison.
Evidence presented at the trial showed that the Kleensangs had not filed any tax returns in 2003 through 2006 or in 2008 through 2011. In fact, the evidence showed that the Kleensangs had testified under oath in state court proceedings in Sheridan County, Nebraska, that they did not have to file tax returns because they were not federal employees and did not live in the District of Columbia.
However, in 2008, a total of 67 returns were filed between them for calendar year 2007, with David Kleensang filing 57 separate returns for himself and Bernita Kleensang filing 10 separate returns on her own behalf.
As to the counts in the Indictment, many of these returns sought refunds of $2.5 million dollars or $5 million dollars, while other returns sought refunds in amounts involved in two separate lawsuits which had been filed against the Kleensangs in the District Court of Sheridan County.
During the investigation of the case, the Kleensangs had admitted that they had filed the returns to “get justice” for the judgments which had been rendered against them in Sheridan County. The total amount of the refunds claimed for the counts of conviction was $48,453,484.
The frivolous nature of these returns was detected through the Frivolous Return Program Unit established by the Internal Revenue Service in approximately 2001. This unit is located in Ogden, Utah. Returns detected by this unit are pulled from processing and the filer is sent a warning letter advising that if the returns are not corrected, the filer could be assessed a $5,000 penalty. Not only did the Kleensangs not correct their returns, they continued to file similar returns seeking refunds for approximately four months after the first letter was sent out.