A gambler from Middlesex County admitted Friday that he used family members and others to fraudulently claim $3.9 million in federal tax refunds on his casino winnings -- $1.3 million of which the IRS paid out, authorities said.
Michael Watsey, 43, of South River, told a U.S. District Court judge in Trenton that he lied after the tax refund requests were questioned and pretended to be a casino host while talking with an IRS representative on the phone.
Watsey conspired with family members and others to file 16 fraudulent U.S. income tax returns for 2014, 2015 and 2016, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
The conspirators “created false W2-G forms to report gambling winnings, showing significant winnings and federal tax withheld by casinos in Atlantic City,” Carpenito said Friday.
A total of 16 false tax returns falsely claimed $3.9 million in federal tax refunds, the U.S. attorney said. The IRS paid out $1.3 million, he said.
U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson scheduled sentencing on April 7 for Watsey’s guilty plea to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government.
Carpentio credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation with the investigation leading to the guilty plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason M. Richardson of his Criminal Division in Camden.
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