Lexington man indicted on federal charges of tax fraud

A Kentucky man is one of two people indicted by a federal grand jury in Ohio with conspiring to file income tax returns claiming refunds of $1.3 million by using stolen identification information, Internal Revenue Service officials said Friday in a news release.

Robert S. Earthman, 31, of Lexington and Roma L. Sims, 34, of Westerville, Ohio were indicted with conspiring to file 559 individual income tax returns for the 2011 income tax year, claiming total refunds of more than $1.3 million. Earthman and Sims used stolen personal identification information, including many Kentucky residents who were receiving disability or other public assistance, according to the news release. The returns were filed between December 2011 and January 2013, the news release said.

Earthman was charged with one count of conspiracy to submit false claims for income tax refunds with the IRS, one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft, and one count of identity theft. He was released on bond.

Sims and Earthman allegedly filed false claims for federal income tax refunds at a company called Express Tax and Accounting in Columbus, Ohio.

The offenses are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.