HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A man in Hampton has pleaded guilty to tax evasion and defrauding Hampton Roads residents out more than $630,000.
According to the Department of Justice, 54-year-old Clarence M. Rice Jr. tricked victims into giving him large sums of money using the false idea that he needed to pay existing debts in order to obtain an inheritance.
The scheme went on from 2013 till 2019 as Rice told his victims that he needed funds in order to obtain a “sizeable inheritance” following his father’s death.
As a result of his fraud scheme, Rice stole more than $350,000 from a 75-year-old retired bricklayer and more than $140,000 from an elderly blind man, officials say.
In total, Rice obtained at least $632,017.44 in fraudulent proceeds from the scheme.
As part of a plea agreement, Rice agreed that all his victims were of limited financial means and suffered substantial hardship from his fraud.
Despite earning income from his fraud scheme, officials say Rice has not filed taxes since 2011.
Between 2015 and 2019, court records reported that Rice defrauded the IRS by “living a cash lifestyle,” negotiating checks from victims for money instead of depositing them in bank accounts, hiding assets on prepaid cards, and lying to law enforcement about his income and assets.
The approximate tax due Rice owed is $52,064.18.
On Tuesday, Rice pleaded guilty to wire fraud and evasion of income tax assessment. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 25, 2022, where he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the fraud offense and a maximum of five years in prison for the tax evasion.