NM farmer gets 14-year prison term for tax fraud

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico farmer has been ordered to pay more than $18 million in restitution and sentenced to 14 years in prison for tax fraud and fraudulently collecting farm subsidies.

Prosecutors say Bill Melot, of Hobbs, hasn’t filed a personal income tax return since 1986.

They say he owes the Internal Revenue Service more than $25 million in federal taxes.

Melot was convicted of tax evasion, failure to file tax returns, making false statements to the USDA and impeding the IRS following a four-day jury trial in Albuquerque.

He must pay nearly $18.5 million in restitution to the IRS and about $227,000 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Prosecutors say Melot improperly collected farm subsidies by giving the USDA a fake Social Security number and a fictitious employer identification number.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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