A Hay Springs couple who filed illegal tax returns claiming more than $48 million in refunds has completed their sentences in federal prison, but now face a lawsuit filed against them by the Department of Justice.
The Tax Division of the DOJ filed the suit last week in U.S. District Court in Omaha, seeking $1.3 million in taxes and penalties from David Kleensang and Bernita Kleensang. The pair was released from prison last fall, after being sentenced to six-year terms in 2012.
According to the lawsuit, David Kleensang owes the United States $1,184,686 in taxes, penalties and interest for failing to pay taxes from 2000-2004 and from 2006-2007. Bernita Kleensang owes $119,354, the DOJ alleges, for submitting false claims for refunds in 2006-2007 and failing to report and pay all of the taxes she owed in 2007.
The pair was convicted in 2012 of conspiracy to defraud the government, impeding IRS laws and multiple counts of filing false claims. The conviction followed a two-and-a-half day trial in Omaha. Throughout state and federal proceedings, the couple claimed they did not have to file taxes because they were not federal employees and did not live in Washington, D.C.
For the calendar year 2007, the Kleensangs filed 67 tax returns claiming more than $48.4 million in refunds. The IRS Frivolous Return Program Unit in Ogden, Utah, flagged the returns and warned the couple to correct them. The Kleensangs, did not correct the returns and continued to file similar returns for four months after they received the first warning letter from the IRS.