After claiming fictitious twin children as dependents on her income tax returns for more than a decade, a 57-year-old Belgrade woman has pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion in U.S. District Court in Missoula.
At a court hearing Tuesday, Ruth E. Amende entered guilty pleas to five counts of tax evasion and one count of misusing a Social Security number, all felonies. She admitted that her purported set of twins, Victor and Victoria, did not exist and that she made them up to receive larger income tax refunds from both the federal and state governments.
Federal investigators estimate Amende stole nearly $20,000 from the government between 2001 and 2005 n all of the tax years that fall within the five-year statute of limitations for prosecution.
Amende faces possible penalties of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Sentencing is set for Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. in Missoula.
For more information, read Thursday's Missoulian or go to Missoulian.com.