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Published September 01, 2011, 05:14 PM

NM farmer to pay $18M in restitution to feds

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A southern New Mexico farmer has been sentenced to five years in prison and must pay more than $18 million in restitution to the federal government for evading taxes and fraudulently collecting farm subsidies.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A southern New Mexico farmer has been sentenced to five years in prison and must pay more than $18 million in restitution to the federal government for evading taxes and fraudulently collecting farm subsidies.

Federal prosecutors say Bill Melot had opened a Swiss bank account, used false Social Security Numbers and notorized forged deeds to hide his assets.

The U.S. attorney's office in Albuquerque announced Melot's sentence Wednesday.

Melot must also serve three years of supervised release for tax evasion, program fraud and other crimes.

His attorney, Gregory Acton, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Court documents say Melot hasn't filed a personal income tax return since 1986 and owes more than $25 million in federal taxes and more than $7 million in taxes in Texas.

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