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Tampa man charged with filing 17 fake tax returns

TAMPA — Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment Wednesday charging a Tampa man with filing false tax returns and receiving undue refunds of $704,676.

Koffi M. Gbikpi, 46, is accused of filing 17 tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service between February and November 2009. The returns were filed in his name and the names of others known to him, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Gbikpi was previously charged with writing worthless checks in Hillsborough County in 2009. In 2010, he was arrested in Boston after police said he opened more than 30 accounts with banks as part of a check-kiting scheme, the Boston Globe reported.

Boston police were able to track Gbikpi because he wore a priest's collar. His Facebook page calls him Bishop Koffi Gbikpi.

In 2008, one of the three business incorporated in Florida with Gbikpi listed as a registered agent was the Universal Ministries Church of Heaven Corp., state business records show.

All three business dissolved in 2009 or 2010, records show. It's unclear if Gbikpi is ordained.

He is charged with 17 counts of making and presenting false tax claims. If convicted, he faces a up to five years in federal prison for each count.

Tampa man charged with filing 17 fake tax returns 07/18/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 8:42pm]
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