Brooklyn, NY man sentenced for stealing personal data from tribal citizens and filing it to collect millions

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pine Ridge Reservation

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A federal judge has sentenced Manaen Dean Matthews to prison for six and a half years for his role in a widespread data-theft scheme that included victims on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken of Rapid City said the 35-year-old Brooklyn, New York, man must re-pay $523,250 to the federal Internal Revenue Service for income-tax refunds he fraudulently received while pretending to be tribal citizens.

Ron Parsons, the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota, announced the sentence Monday. Matthews was found guilty of federal charges including wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the government.

Matthews filed 1,201 false income-tax returns.

Here’s how he did it:

Matthews devised a scheme to obtain personal information from individuals living on the Pine Ridge Reservation and elsewhere.

Then he directed others to get it by falsely telling them they would lawfully receive large tax refunds or other government payments.

Next, he used the data to file fraudulent personal income tax returns and falsely reported earnings from self-employment, event though he knew the tribal citizens hadn’t received the income reported and weren’t owed the refunds.

According to the U.S. attorney, from 2015 through 2018, Matthews knowingly made false claims against the United States totaling approximately $3,621,770.20.

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