WRAL Investigates

Rocky Mount man faces prison after hyping crime-free living

Posted August 5, 2013

— A Rocky Mount man who urged local children to stay out of trouble is facing a maximum of 13 years in prison and $500,000 in fines after pleading guilty Monday to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and filing false tax returns.

Larry Hill Jr. will be sentenced on Nov. 4. He made a name for himself in Rocky Mount after appearing in commercials and YouTube videos, asking children to live a crime-free lifestyle.

“I want all my young people to think before you act. Trouble is too easy to get into, and once you get into trouble, you’ll be all by yourself,” Hill says in one YouTube clip posted last November.

In another clip, Hill handed out cash to children as part of his “Crime Free Summer Good Deeds Contest” as the words “Stop the violence” flashed on the screen. Despite his attempts to dissuade children from trouble, federal authorities say it’s a message Hill didn't lived by.

"As a local businessman, Larry Hill has held himself out to the public as the 'people’s champ.' His guilty plea today to a sweeping tax fraud conspiracy shows us that he was very much the opposite,” U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker said in a statement Monday.

From February 2010 to October 2012, Hill’s tax business filed hundreds of “false, fictitious and fraudulent refunds” for customers, claiming millions in refunds, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Federal court records filed in April show authorities charged Hill with fraud and conspiracy in connection with his business, Hill’s Tax Service.

Larry Hill Jr. Rocky Mount youth mentor pleads guilty to federal fraud charges

Beginning in 2010, investigators said, the Rocky Mount business filed more than 300 tax returns for clients, claiming in excess of $1.5 million in refunds. Within a few years, the business expanded to four other locations – in Wilson, Scotland Neck, Hollister and Farmville – and so did the fraud, according to the criminal complaint.

From $1.5 million in refunds in 2010, to $5.4 million in 2011, to $7.5 million in 2012, prosecutors say most of the returns, including Hill’s own, were fraudulent. Prosecutors allege Hill’s tax preparers manipulated the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income filers by falsely reporting interest income, withholdings and dependents and that Hill profited from each bogus return.

According to the criminal complaint, Hill collected an average of $1,000 for himself from each fraudulent refund check. He reported an income of $8,750 on his taxes for 2010. Authorities say it was more than that, but they did not provide an exact amount. All five of his tax preparation offices have shut down.

The WRAL Investigates team caught up with Hill in June at a used car sales business, where he is known as “the head honcho.” He declined to comment or refer to an attorney for comment, but he later emailed WRAL on June 28 to say that he shares "some of the blame" for his legal troubles.

"He without sin cast the first stone," he wrote.

Hill served time for a 2007 fraud conviction for an insurance scam related to staged automobile accidents. He still owes more than $70,000 in restitution in that case.

65 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • dhartley8 Aug 6, 12:08 p.m.

    What an ego (always gets you). Knew he was shady when I saw the first commercial. I have heard of people that have defrauded the federal government and gotten a much much longer sentence. What a joke.

  • Euro American Aug 6, 11:46 a.m.

    Facing a maximum of up to 13 years lol? We always hear about the maximum yada yada yada. He'll get the minimum and then be out in no time on parole! Last week's cash register money grabster of WRAL.com glory was charged with just two counts of misdemeanor larceny and released - just like that. He'll pay court costs and they'll "call the next case".

  • Paladin2 Aug 6, 10:11 a.m.

    Civil4Mind, he is no modern day Robin Hood. He was stealing money from you and me as taxpayers for his own personal gain.

  • Civil4Mind Aug 6, 8:58 a.m.

    1. Al and Jesse don't help criminals. Lets be realistic!
    2. He is a modern day Robin Hood...
    3. New lesson for children, want to help do it legally. Because there is little that can be done from behind bars. Only thing he got right was Stay In School! Education is key.

  • sunshine1040 Aug 5, 6:35 p.m.

    Do as I say not as I do was the lesson he was trying to teach something i have heard for years or crime does not pay so now he must pay

  • stymieindurham Aug 5, 6:21 p.m.

    I wouldn't worry too much about this guy. I'm sure one of the "race peddler" groups will pick him up. He obviously knows how to get his hands on money. That's all the "peddler's" care about.

  • Hokies94 Aug 5, 6:12 p.m.

    This so called person is one of the biggest jokes that I've ever heard about. His family members were all smiles in a few shots tonight on WRAL. A total shame. He was clever for a little while. I hope that he has loads of years behind bars to sit and ponder his scam.

  • dontstopnow Aug 5, 5:36 p.m.

    No wonder black youth have such a hard time defining themselves in this world of deception and crime from their role models. Such a shame he had to do that to so many youth that looked up to him.

  • dirtydozen431 Aug 5, 5:26 p.m.

    Pretending to care while making money is big business.

  • notexactly Aug 5, 4:23 p.m.

    For all the folks that think the rich don't pay enough:
    You are more than welcome to put some of your money in a high risk situation and roll the dice to see if you make money or lose. How much money do they lose I wonder before they actually make any money? Or do they ever make any? You have the same ability to invest as they do. It just might take longer to see it pay off.

More...