Man charged with income tax fraud in Brown County

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Published: May. 20, 2022 at 6:20 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Portage County man has been charged in a tax fraud case in Brown County.

A criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News shows Elton J. Schenk, 46, Custer, is charged with Fraud/Rendering Income Tax Return or Obtain Refund with Fraudulent Intent. It’s a felony charge that comes with a possible sentence of six years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

The charge was filed March 16 in Brown County Court because the alleged crimes happened while the defendant was living in Green Bay.

The case was investigated by the Office of Criminal Investigation of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. They were tipped off by an auditor.

The complaint alleges Schenk made up fake businesses. Investigators looked at tax returns filed by Schenk and his then wife for 2014, 2015, and 2016. Each year included a federal Schedule C for a business that did not exist. The alleged fake federal Schedule C reduced the amount of Wisconsin income tax owed.

“In addition to the fake businesses, Schenk knowingly reported false amounts of medical and dental expenses on their 2014 and 2015 federal Schedule A. These amounts were used to calculate their Wisconsin itemized deduction credit for 2014 and 2015. Schenk also knowingly inflated the amount of charitable contributions reported on their 2014, 2015, and 2016 federal Schedule A. Those amounts were also used to calculate their Wisconsin itemized deduction credit for 2014, 2015, and 2016,” reads the complaint.

From 2011 to 2017, Schenk worked for a finance company that does high-risk lending and tax preparation.

The complaint states Schenk admitted that he prepared his and his then wife’s joint 2014, 2015, and 2016 tax returns, including the federal Schedule C and Schedule A.

It also alleges the returns evaded $4970 in Wisconsin income tax.

The investigators say Schenk reported the fake businesses and inflated medical/dental expenses to avoid paying taxes and finance a trip to Florida, purchase iPads, clothing and to pay bills.

An arraignment hearing is scheduled for May 26.

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