A Blue Springs business owner who masterminded what prosecutors call the largest federal false claims case ever prosecuted in Missouri has been sentenced to 13 years in federal prison and must repay the government more than $950,000.
Gerald Poynter, who lives in Kansas City, pleaded guilty in November to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by filing fraudulent tax returns and one count of filing a fraudulent tax return. Prosecutors say the 48-year-old, also known as "Brother Jerry Love," admitted that conspirators prepared and filed 284 fraudulent tax returns from July 1, 2008, to Sept. 21, 2011, seeking a total of $96 million in fraudulent refunds.
The IRS mistakenly paid out $3.5 million in refunds on those claims but rejected the rest.
Poynter maintained an office and karate studio at 1052 S.W. Luttrell Road in Blue Springs.
Ten others, including Joshua and Kristen Simonson of Oak Grove, also have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme. One of those who pleaded guilty, Shirley J. Oyer, of Overland Park, Kan., worked on the false tax returns at the Blue Springs karate studio, where she recruited at least 12 clients and filed 26 fraudulent returns claiming $12.4 million in refunds, of which the IRS paid out $92,974.