In the last three years, there have been several high-profile fraud cases involving Virginia's Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit - the most recent involving 52-year-old Billy Gene Jefferson, who appeared in federal court back in December accepting a plea deal. He's required to pay restitution totaling over $12 million.
Jefferson and others who were prosecuted for stealing millions of dollars from the state got that tax credit from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
"We did increase the number of site visits that we are making to actual projects to verify the work that has been done," said Julie Langan, Acting Director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. "We are doing more education with architects and developers about what it is that we need."
A recent study completed by VCU shows that since 1997, the Virginia tax credit program has generated over $3 billion in the Commonwealth.
Langan says the program is doing fine and has not suffered because of recent fraud cases. As for Billy Jefferson, he is now back behind bars, accused of violating his bond.
Jefferson is required to notify the IRS of any real estate or money transfer worth more than $25,000. There are questions over whether Jefferson actually did. An IRS investigation finds Jefferson made wire transfers exceeding $570,000, including three separate wire transfers in the amount of $100,000 to Jefferson's ex-wife's account.
Court documents say none of those transfers were reported, but two other different transfers were reported to the IRS.
Chuck James with Williams & Mullens is one of two attorney's working on Jefferson's case. He says they are working cooperatively with the government to make payments towards Jefferson's required restitution.
James also says they are working to get Jefferson a bond hearing before his new sentencing hearing, now scheduled for May 9.
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