The adult son of Larry Ealy, who is running for Ohio governor in the Democratic primary in May, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on 42 counts alleging he bought hundreds of stolen identities online and used them to fraudulently file for federal income tax refunds.
Lance Ealy, 28, of Dayton denies wrongdoing and said the indictment is retribution from the government because he has refused to cooperate in the federal investigation. He pleaded not guilty on all counts.
The indictment alleges that Lance Ealy “filed more than 150 fraudulent federal income tax returns seeking refunds to which he was not entitled,” according to a news release sent by Fred Alverson, spokesman for Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, on Monday.
The indictment supersedes a federal complaint filed against Lance Ealy in October.
“They have no evidence that I even filed some tax returns,” said Lance Ealy. “You need to say that the government is trying to cover up everything. High powered corporations are involved in this.”
Larry Ealy of Trotwood said he is helping his son, who is acting as his own attorney, with his legal paperwork. Larry Ealy said he is not sure if the publicity on the case will hurt his campaign against Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald for the Democratic nomiation.
Larry Ealy also faces legal trouble, with an ongoing investigation of allegations that he and three others who passed nominating petitions for him turned in fraudulent signatures to the Montgomery County Board of Elections. The board turned the matter over to the Montgomery County Sheriff for investigation. Larry Ealy has denied wrongdoing.
Lance Ealy said when his father found out about the identify theft and tax fraud allegations he told Lance that the feds were “going to come at me full force.”
Alverson could not be reached for comment.
The indictment was announced after Lance Ealy’s appearance before U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett on Monday. Barrett released Ealy on electronic monitoring and set an August 18 trial date.
The initial federal complaint alleged Ealy purchased hundreds of stolen identities online, and a November indictment charged him with one count of knowingly possessing five or more access devices with intent to defraud.
The superseding indictment adds 41 additional charges, including 11 counts of failing false claims for income tax refunds, 14 counts of wire fraud, 14 counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of mail fraud and one count of using unauthorized access devices - such as payment cards and bank account numbers - to obtain $1,000 or more in value in a one-year period,” according to Alverson’s news release. The period covered in January to October 2013.
He is also accused of opening bank accounts at financial institutions to electronically deposit the fraudulent tax returns.
The charges carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
By Lynn Hulsey - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)
©2014 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
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