The IRS has paid out more than $310,000 in tax refunds in the names of Tennessee prisoners in a scheme concocted and carried out by two inmates, court records show.

Larry Steven Covington Jr., 38, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to conspiring to defraud the IRS while serving time in a Tennessee penitentiary and using fellow inmates' social security numbers he apparently purloined.

He is the second Tennessee inmate to confess carrying out such a scheme. Career criminal James Glenn Collins pleaded guilty in December 2014 to a similar scam, and court records suggest he may have taught Covington the ropes in deceiving the IRS.

Between the two of them, they filed hundreds of tax returns claiming refunds owed hundreds of inmates, most of whom had been unemployed for years. Some had never worked a legal job in their adult lives.

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