Richmond developer sentenced to 20 years for tax credit fraud, plot to flee country

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RICHMOND, Virginia — A former Richmond developer who fraudulently obtained historic tax credits and then plotted to flee the country has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge John Gibney sentenced Billy Gene Jefferson on Tuesday.

According to court papers, Jefferson was awaiting sentencing for the $12 million tax credit scheme when he created a fake driver's license and used it to charter a one-way flight to England. He decided not to flee, but later pleaded guilty to unlawful transfer of a fake ID and identity theft. Authorities also have accused him of hiding money that could be used for restitution.

Gibney said greed got the best of Jefferson.

Prosecutors sought a sentence of 30 years, more than double the top of the guideline range. Jefferson's lawyers recommended 12 years.

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