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The government has filed a lawsuit seeking $1.3 million in taxes and penalties against a western Nebraska man and his wife who went to federal prison in 2012 for not paying income taxes for five years, then claiming more than $48 million in refunds.

David L. Kleensang, 67, and Bernita M. Kleensang, 58, of Hay Springs, were released from federal prison last fall, according to Federal Bureau of Prison records.

In a complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Omaha, Jared Wiesner, a trial attorney in the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, said David Kleensang failed to pay federal tax liabilities for the years 2000-2004 and 2006-2007.

Wiesner said as a result he now is liable for $1,184,686 for taxes, penalties and interest, as well as for civil penalties.

He said Bernita Kleensang submitted false claims for tax refunds to the IRS for tax years 2006-2007 and failed to report and pay all of the taxes she owed in 2007. Wiesner said she is liable for $119,354.

In 2012, they both were found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims, impeding administration of the Internal Revenue laws and 14 counts of filing false claims.

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Each was sentenced to six years in federal prison.

Prosecutors said they had claimed in their 2007 returns that the government owed them $48.5 million, even though they hadn't filed returns since 2003. They also failed to file between 2008 and 2011.

They argued they did not have to pay taxes because they were not federal employees and did not live in Washington.

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