A man who defrauded the IRS and targeted people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation must spend six-and-a-half years in prison and pay $523,250 in restitution.

Manaen Dean Matthews was sentenced Thursday at the federal court in Rapid City after pleading guilty to wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the government and making a false claim, court records show.

Matthews could have been sentenced up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud charge, 10 years for the conspiracy charge, and five years for the false claim charge but the U.S. Attorney's Office agreed as part of the plea deal to ask the judge for no more than a six-and-a-half years.

Matthews filed 1,201 fraudulent federal income tax returns for more than $3.6 million in false claims in South Dakota and other states between 2015 to 2018, according to the factual basis document he signed. As a result, he owes $523,250 in restitution to the IRS. 

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It appears Matthews was active in South Dakota from April 2017 to April 2018 when he directed three Rapid City residents to take personal information from people on the reservation and elsewhere in the state by falsely telling them they would receive large tax refunds. Using that personal information, he filed 186 false tax returns for refunds worth $675,547.

Once Matthews received the fraudulent refunds, the document says, he would take $650 per return for himself and send $100 to the conspirators who helped collect the personal information. Matthews wired at least $18,456 he gained from the scheme to his conspirators between 2017 and 2018.

The three Rapid City residents who helped Matthews don't appear to be facing criminal charges.

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