Ionia inmate sentenced for tax scheme from jail

Timothy Lofton Jr.
An August 2015 mug shot of Timothy Lofton Jr. (Michigan Department of Corrections)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An inmate at the Ionia Correctional Facility is facing more time behind bars for allegedly taking part in a tax fraud scheme while in jail.

A judge recently sentenced 34-year-old Timothy Lofton Jr. to 15 months in prison for his role in the scheme, according to acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge. The judge also ordered Lofton to repay $2,319 from filing false tax forms.

Birge said Lofton collected personal information from inmates while in prison in 2011 and shared that information with his associates in the Benton Harbor area. That information was then used to file false federal tax returns without the inmates’ knowledge or permission, according to Birge.

Birge said the suspects listed false income amounts on the tax filings, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in bogus refunds.

Birge said the IRS uncovered the scheme in time and was able to recover all but about $3,000 of the money.