West Branch Man Sentenced to Federal Prison on Tax Charges

A man from West Branch has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison on charges of filing false tax returns and aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns. 53-year-old Christopher Fratine was ordered to pay just over $84,000 in restitution to the IRS. Fratine pleaded guilty in July 2019 to five counts of making a false tax return and four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns before United States District Judge Thomas Ludington. Sentencing was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Court documents showed Fratine owned and operated a home health care business called Unity Home Care Services and also had a separate home health care business named Unity Home Health Care, which was owned by his wife. Both provided in-home skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy services in the Houghton Lake, Traverse City and Bay City areas from 2013 until 2016.

“Individuals like Mr. Fratine, who created elaborate schemes to purposefully mislead others and defraud the IRS should expect to be prosecuted,” said IRS – Criminal Investigation, Detroit Field Office, Acting Special Agent in Charge Brian Thomas. “The sentencing of Mr. Fratine demonstrates he intentionally falsified tax returns to hide millions of dollars of taxable income from the IRS. These types of crimes will always be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

The case was investigated by agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anca Pop.