The defense said he was acting like Robin Hood by helping the people in need in his community, but prosecutors say he was stealing from all Nebraskan taxpayers. Douglas County District Judge Duane Dougherty sentences Ramel Thompson, 53, to 270 days in jail after pleading no contest to 3 felonies including tax evasion and filing fraudulent tax returns. Once the jail time is completed he will serve 2 years probation.
From 2012-2016 Thompson filed tax returns for people who needed help at his church. He would add write-offs they weren't supposed to receive and said they owned companies that weren't there’s.
The Nebraska Department of Revenue found that Thompson defrauded the state out of $100,000.
"We wanted to make sure that he did some sort of time just because of the nature of the offense. It goes to the foundation of everybody pays taxes and when you have somebody who's committing a fraud in that regard and it's intentional then we think they have to get some sort of punishment in that regard,” Douglas Co. Attorney Don Kleine explained.
Thompson told the judge he takes responsibility for his crimes, but he was trying help families with kids and single mothers prepare fraudulent tax returns. His attorney said he was like Robin Hood since he didn't receive much benefit from it except for helping others.
"What he was doing he was helping people that couldn't help themselves. They don't know how to fill out tax returns and things like that, they're poor, they came to him for advice not just on taxes on all matters. He did what he could for them was to manufacture exemptions they weren't entitled to which is wrong, it's illegal, but he was doing it to help these people,” said Thompson’s Defense Attorney, Bill Gallup.
Co-defendant, Jamie Sanders, is awaiting trial.