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U.S. man accused of using Craigslist to find fake tax dependents

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Reuters) – A Missouri man has been charged with filing false U.S. tax returns after allegedly using Craigslist to find three children he could falsely claim as dependents, a federal prosecutor announced on Wednesday.

A U.S. grand jury in Springfield, Mo., indicted Raheem McClain, 37, of Ozark, Missouri, on three counts of filing false returns, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson in Kansas City.

The indictment alleges that McClain posted a Craigslist ad reading: “Wanted: Kids to claim on income taxes. If you have some kids you aren’t claiming, I will pay you $750 each to claim them on my return.”

McClain filed a false tax return for 2014 on Feb. 3, 2015, listing two sons and a daughter and their social security numbers, according to the indictment. He then listed the trio as a son and two daughters in tax returns for 2012 and 2013 which were filed the next day, the indictment said.

The indictment was issued last month but had remained sealed until Tuesday when McClain made his first court appearance, according to Dickinson’s press release.

McClain has not entered a plea and was released on bond. His public defender declined comment on Wednesday.

Each of the felony charges against McClain carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, according to a spokesman for Dickinson.

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