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Inmate charged with orchestrating 7-year tax fraud scheme from prison

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BATON ROUGE - A prison inmate is facing new felony charges after he allegedly executed a lengthy, elaborate tax fraud scheme from behind bars.

According to the Department of Revenue, John Michael McConnell was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Friday on charges of theft and filing/maintaining false public records.

McConnell was the focus of a WBRZ report Tuesday. Investigators say that from 2010 to 2017, he filed numerous false state income tax returns claiming an estimated $171,000 in fraudulent refunds. McConnell allegedly submitted W-2 forms for companies he never worked for and would scheme for more money once he received a refund.

McConnell used post office boxes, girlfriends’ home addresses and the address of his parents’ business in Texas as his home addresses on the phony tax returns.

Barry Kelly, the director of criminal investigations for the department, says this isn't anything new for them.

"It does happen on occasion. We do try to work with the prisons," Kelly said. "When we determine there is a scheme that's afoot where people are out committing fraud, we do take and put things in place to keep this from happening in the future."

McConnell was scheduled to be released from federal prison in Oakdale to a half-way house in the coming weeks. Now, his future is up in the air.

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