Mother, son indicted in online tutoring scheme

A Minneapolis mother and son who ran an online tutoring program face federal fraud and conspiracy charges after they allegedly collected more than $2 million in state tax refunds meant for low-income families, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Carolyn Louper-Morris, 62, and William John Morris Jr., 41, who run CyberStudy 101, were both charged in U.S. District Court with one count of mail/wire fraud conspiracy, seven counts of wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and four counts of promotion money laundering. William Morris also was charged with one count of making and subscribing a false return. Their scheme revolved around the Minnesota Education Tax Credit, which gives low-income residents a tax credit for enrolling their K-12 children in supplemental educational programs, often resulting in tax refunds for the families. Louper-Morris and Morris told families that they wouldn’t have to pay for the program up front if they would agree to allow CyberStudy to file a tax return and claim the education tax credit. The clients who agreed also would receive a free computer and internet access for life, according to the indictment. In 2001 and 2002, CyberStudy filed tax returns on behalf of more than 1,800 people and received more than $2 million in tax credit payments from the Minnesota Department of Revenue. The computers that Louper-Morris and Morris gave to their clients mostly came from Kmart, which sold CyberStudy the computers for $529. CyberStudy gave out more than 2,000 computers worth more than $1 million, but never paid Kmart, according to the indictment…

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