SAN DIEGO (CN) - A Russian man was sentenced on Monday to 18 months in federal prison for a sneaky scheme in which he diverted federal tax returns to his own accounts. Maxim Maltsev, 23, of Novosibirsk and San Diego swiped $136,000 by setting up Web sites that claimed to be affiliated with the IRS "Free File" electronic filing program and taking the money from people who thought they were actually filing their returns with the IRS.
The IRS accredited 19 Free File affiliates in 2006, and their sites were linked to the IRS site, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in announcing the sentence.
Maltsev set up Web sites that claimed such affiliation, advertised them through emails and the Internet, and then swiped the returns. His Internet addresses were based in Belarus.
Maltsev got $105,000 from his scheme and three friends took another $31,000, federal prosecutors said.