NEWPORT NEWS, Va. –A Hampton man has pleaded guilty to defrauding victims in the Hampton Roads area out of more than $630,000 and evading the assessment of more than $50,000 in income taxes.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, "between 2013 and 2019, 54-year-old Clarence Rice Jr., falsely represented to victims that he was going to receive a sizeable inheritance from his father’s death, under the condition that Rice paid off all his existing debts. Officials said he tricked victims into giving him large sums of money while lying and saying that he needed the funds to obtain his inheritance."
More than $350,000 was stolen from a 75-year-old retired bricklayer and more than $140,000 from an elderly blind man. In total, the Department of Justice said Rice "obtained at least $632,017 in fraudulent proceeds from the scheme. As part of the plea, Rice agreed that all his victims were of limited financial means and suffered substantial hardship from his fraud."
Additionally, Rice has not filed taxes since 2011. The DOJ said Between 2015 and 2019, he defrauded the IRS by paying for things in cash, negotiating checks from victims for U.S. currency instead of depositing them in bank accounts, hiding assets on prepaid cards and lying to law enforcement about his income and assets.
According to the DOJ, because Rice didn't pay his personal income tax, the approximate tax due is over $52,000.
Rice pleaded guilty on Tuesday to wire fraud and evasion of income tax assessment and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 25, 2022. 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.