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United States v. Laws

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 15, 2016

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Brenda S. Laws, Defendant - Appellant; United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Lareka S. Laws, Defendant - Appellant; United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Milton L. Laws, Jr., Defendant - Appellant; United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Jameel L. Laws, Defendant - Appellant

         Submitted December 15, 2015.

          Appeals from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock.

         United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee (14-3636, 14-3639, 14-3640, 14-3642): Patrick C. Harris, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Stephanie Mazzanti, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Eastern District of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR.

         Brenda S. Laws, Defendant - Appellant (14-3636), Pro se, Pine Bluff, AR.

         For Brenda S. Laws, Defendant - Appellant (14-3636): Chris Tarver, Assistant Federal Public Defender, FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER'S OFFICE, Little Rock, AR.

         For Lareka S. Laws, Defendant - Appellant (14-3639): Jerome Edward Larkowski, LARKOWSKI & ROGERS, Little Rock, AR.

         Lareka S. Laws, Defendant - Appellant (14-3639), Pro se, Pine Bluff, AR.

         Milton L. Laws, Jr., Defendant - Appellant (14-3640), Pro se, Forrest City, AR.

         For Milton L. Laws, Jr., Defendant - Appellant (14-3640): Jennifer Brooks Wiggins, Little Rock, AR.

         Jameel L. Laws, Defendant - Appellant (14-3642), Pro se, Pine Bluff, AR.

         For Jameel L. Laws, Defendant - Appellant (14-3642): Sara F. Merritt, SHERWOOD & MERRITT, North Little Rock, AR.

         Before MURPHY, BENTON, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

         KELLY, Circuit Judge.

         Brenda Laws, Lareka Laws, Milton Laws, and Jameel Laws were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States by falsely claiming tax refunds in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286, and making false claims to the IRS in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 287. These charges arose from a scheme in which the defendants filed more than 200 tax returns claiming first-time homebuyer tax credits to which the named taxpayer was not entitled. The tax refunds, including the falsely-claimed credit, were then deposited into one of 17 bank accounts owned or controlled by a ...


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