A convicted tax fraud, who bamboozled the U.S. government out of more than $1 million and then escaped state custody by forging his own release papers, was captured today by U.S. marshals in West Philadelphia following an "extensive manhunt," federal authorities said.

Kevin William Small, 49, had been serving the first of two 135-month sentences for swindling the IRS, a fraud he committed while behind bars in a Pennsylvania state prison.

Small, in 2006, was indicted on tax fraud and related charges for filing false tax returns that had netted him refund checks for $5,027, $242,331, $360,776, and $435,769, according to court documents.

During the trial Small was shameless, attempting to enter forged documents into evidence, according to U.S. marshals. Those documents were found out.

And Small, a career criminal with over 30 prior arrests, was sentenced in 2007 to more than 11 years in a federal prison. But first he had a state term to finish.

Small's criminal tomfoolery, authorities said, was far from over.

In October, the state prison in Huntingdon, near Erie, received what appeared to be a court order from the U.S. district judge who had sentenced him four years before. The order directed that Small's guilty verdict be vacated. U.S. marshals said the order was accompanied by a memorandum that appeared to be from the U.S. Clerk of the Court.

Those documents looked good enough to fool the prison's records office. So when Small's state sentence "was satisfied" on Jan. 5, Small walked out of the maximum-security facility a free man.

It's unclear what happened next.

Small was at liberty for two months before U.S. marshals were alerted. Last week, the FBI determined the documents were in fact forgeries - and learned that Small had previously used forged papers in an attempt to gain release from prison.

Marshals and FBI agents tracked Small today to a house on the 5000 block of Baltimore Avenue.

"He did not resist, but he denied who he was at the time of the arrest and gave a false name," said U.S. Marshal Martin J. Pane.

Now, there's no doubt who he is, where he is, or where he will be. Marshals took Small to the federal courthouse in Harrisburg today, where he was charged on state counts of escape, forging a judicial signature, and mail fraud. A long list of federal charges is pending.

Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796, samwood@phillynews.com, or @inqwriter on Twitter.