FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) – A Myrtle Beach man has pleaded guilty in federal court and faces up to 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud and filing a false tax return, according to a news release by the United States Attorney’s Office.

Troy Benjamin Bittner, 54, faces a fine of up to $250,000 or the greater of twice the gross gain or gross loss of the offense, restitution, and three years of supervision to follow the term of imprisonment. 

Bittner was the general manager at the Carolina Pines RV Resort in Conway from November 2020 to December 2021, according to the release.

During that time, when it was not uncommon for guests to cancel reservations, Bittner fraudulently generated more than $828,000 in customer refunds that were neither authorized nor requested by guests for completed reservations.

After generating the fraudulent refunds, Bittner wired the refunds to his personal financial accounts. In addition, on Feb. 27, 2022, he electronically filed with the IRS a 2021 Form 1040 in which he “substantially understated” his total income for calendar year 2021, resulting in a tax loss of nearly $271,000, according to the release.

United States District Judge Joseph Dawson III accepted the guilty plea and will sentence Bittner after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the U.S. Probation Office, according to the release.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service (USSS), United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), FBI and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Hummel is prosecuting the case.

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Taylor Ford is a digital journalist for News13. She joined the News13 team in January 2023. Taylor is a Florence native and covers the Pee Dee out of News13’s Florence Bureau. Read more of Taylor’s work here.