10/07/2014 07:44 EDT | Updated 12/07/2014 05:59 EST

Toronto-area man handed 9-year sentence in U.S. tax fraud case: officials

SEATTLE - The U.S. Department of Justice says a Brampton, Ont., man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for defrauding the U.S. taxman for millions of dollars.

It says Franzie Colaco, 54, promoted a tax-fraud scheme in Canada through which individuals would claim refunds equal to the value of their personal debt.

The total amount Colaco and co-conspirators swindled the Internal Revenue Service of was US$14 million, but about $8 million of that has been returned.

The Justice Department says roughly two-thirds of those filing for money they didn't deserve were Canadians who had never paid any income tax in the U.S.

Colaco, who was extradited, was convicted in July in a two-day trial and sentenced on Tuesday.

The judge cited the "audacious nature of the scheme" in imposing the sentence.