A Middlesex County man admitted Friday to his role in a family plot to fake casino winnings in order to collect well over a million dollars through phony federal tax returns, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Federal prosecutors said 43-year-old Michael Watsey, of South River, helped family members file 16 fake federal income tax returns for 2014 through 2016, listing made-up gambling dividends at Atlantic City casinos.

According to Carpenito, the false returns claimed $3.9 million in federal tax refunds, of which the IRS paid out $1.3 million.

As part of the scam, Watsey even pretended to be a casino host on a call with an IRS rep, prosecutors said.

Watsey pleaded guilty in Trenton federal court to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a hefty fine when sentenced in April.

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