- The Washington Times - Friday, May 30, 2008

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The brother of a woman prosecutors call the ringleader of a scheme to steal millions of dollars from the D.C. tax office pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court.

Richard Walters, 49, of Bowie, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt to receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Walters and his sister Harriette Walters deposited $4.9 million of fraudulent D.C. tax-refund checks into the bank account of Richard Walters’ plumbing company, according to a plea agreement.

During that same time, more than $1 million was transferred from the plumbing account to Richard Walters’ personal bank account, the agreement states. Money was also used for luxuries such as the construction of a home in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington Wizards season tickets and a 2005 Bentley luxury automobile.

Miss Walters, who worked in the city’s tax office, led a ring that wrote phony tax-refund checks, prosecutors say. In all, at least $20 million - and likely much more - was stolen from the city, prosecutors have said.

Richard Walters is the fourth person to plead guilty in the case. He faces a possible sentence of 10 years in prison for receipt of stolen property and 20 years for the money-laundering conspiracy charge. He must also repay the $4.9 million put into the plumbing account.

Miss Walters and several other suspects are awaiting trial.

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