By Rachel Dove
WILLIAMSON - A McCarr, Ky., resident who is accused of defrauding several people out of their full state and federal income tax returns has been identified as a fugitive from justice with the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department, and the Daily News has been asked to profile him in the “Mingo’s Most Wanted” series.
Tony Christian, 48,is facing felony charges of two counts of computer fraud, one count each of fraudulent schemes and grand larceny, as well as misdemeanor charges of petit larceny and fraudulent schemes.
According to Cpl. Norman Mines of the sheriff’s department, Christian, who receives a disability check due to a diagnosis of multiple screlosis, also works as a tax preparer, and has done so for many years. He is an independent contractor, doing business under the name of “Give Me A Break Tax Service,” and has prepared returns for residents of Mingo and Pike counties.He was formerly employed by Mingo County 911 as a dispatcher but resigned after becoming aware that he was under investigation.
In 2012, Christian allegedly prepared both federal and state taxes and is accused of having his clients’ full return, or at least a portion of it, deposited into an account that he designated. The amounts varied from a few hundred dollars to slightly more than $14,000, unbeknownst to most of the victims. One client, however, became suspicious and felt he should have received a much larger refund and reported it to authorities, kick starting the investigation that allegedly found many discrepancies and acts of fraud.
On March 6, Mines said he contacted Christian at his residence and made him aware of the multiple warrants that had been issued for his arrest, and further instructed him that he had a period of three days in which to turn himself in. That period allegedly passed without the defendant making an appearance.
The last known address for Christian was at the Blackberry/McCarr Senior Housing Complex, where he also acted as property manager. After entering the fugitive’s name into the National Criminal Information Center system, Mines contacted the Kentucky State Police Post 9 in Pikeville and asked them to go to McCarr and take Christain into custody. He reportedly was not at that address and neighbors told police he had been gone for about a week. Mines has since received tips that Christian is hiding out in the Prestonsburg, Ky., area in Floyd County. He has also been rumored to be planning to travel to Georgia or Florida.
Christian, whose photo accompanies this article, is 6 feet tall, weighs approximately 170 pounds, and has brown hair with a receding hairline. Due to his illness, he walks with a cane. Anyone who has seen this fugitive from justice or knows his whereabouts is asked to contact the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department at 304-235-0300, or your local law enforcement agency. Although he is not considered to be armed or dangerous, caution is always advised and you are urged to let the police handle the situation.
“We gave Mr. Christian an opportunity to do the right thing and turn himself in and face the charges, but he chose not to,” Mines said. “We are confident he will be apprehended and will be brought to justice.”
“We also urge anyone who used this defendant as a tax preparer to contact us if they think they may have been a victim of this crime,” the deputy said. “There were deposits made into this account from various tax returns that totaled approximately $30,000, so we know there are more victims out there than what we’re currently aware of.”