By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — Federal prosecutors in New Jersey have charged two people in Delaware with operating a phony tax return business aimed at prison inmates, with the US Treasury the victim.

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The US attorney has filed fraud charges against Kamal James and Crystal Hawkins of Laurel, Del.  They have operated a business called “Release Refunds” over the last couple of years — first in Brick Township, NJ, and more recently in lower Delaware.

The feds allege the pair sent flyers to New Jersey prisoners soliciting personal information.  They’d then fabricate federal returns — and obtained some $1.7 million for inmates — from which they deducted 25 percent for themselves.

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Officials can’t say how many inmates were involved nor if the alleged scheme went beyond the Garden State, but more than 2,400 fraudulent returns were filed.

No inmates have been charged.

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