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Examples of Identity Theft Schemes - Fiscal Year 2012

The following examples of identity theft investigations are written from public record documents on file in the court records in the judicial district in which the cases were prosecuted.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On September 25, 2012, in Tampa, Fla., Arswaya Ralph was sentenced to 28 months in prison and ordered to pay $273,254 in restitution, of which $105,280 has already been recovered by the United States. According to court documents, Ralph admitted that she had been filing fraudulent tax returns using other people's names and identifying information. At least 65 fraudulent tax returns for the 2010 tax year were found on Ralph's laptop computer. These 65 false claims resulted in an intended loss of $467,781. On June 2, 2011, a search warrant at Ralph's home in Riverview, Fla, turned up $31,387 in U.S. currency, approximately 42 reloadable debit cards, two laptop computers, and approximately twelve handwritten ledgers. The ledgers contained numerous individuals' names, dates of birth, social security numbers, personal identification numbers for online tax filing services, and other financial information including bank account and routing numbers. The investigation also revealed that Ralph attended and hosted "Drop Parties" during which she and others electronically filed numerous fraudulent income tax returns simultaneously.

Arizona Woman Sentenced to Identity Theft and Tax Credit Scam
On September 21, 2012, in Phoenix, Ariz., Latricia Williams, of Buckeye, Ariz., was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $386,938 in restitution to the IRS. Williams pleaded guilty on March 20, 2012, to conspiracy. As part of her guilty plea, Williams admitted that from January 2009 through October 2009 she and two others used stolen identities to file 180 tax returns to falsely claim more than $1,000,000 in tax refunds. Williams also admitted that they concealed their fraud by filing the tax returns electronically using their neighbors’ unsecured wireless networks, directing the refunds to prepaid debit card accounts they had obtained under false identities, and recruiting friends and associates to receive the prepaid debit cards by mail at various addresses.

Three Alabama Defendants Sentenced in a Multi-Million Dollar Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
On September 19, 2012, in Montgomery, Ala., Chiquanta Davis was sentenced to 66 months in prison, Terrence Davis was sentenced to 18 months in prison, and Laurekshia Blakely was sentenced to 6 months in prison.  All three were also sentenced to three years of supervised release. In May 2012, the three defendants had pleaded guilty to various charges in a superseding indictment: Chiquanta Davis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file false claims, theft of public funds, and aggravated identity theft. Terrence Davis and Blakely each pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public funds. According to court documents, Chiquanta Davis operated a sham tax business in 2010 out of her home called It’s Tax Time. Davis opened a bank account in the name of It’s Tax Time and directed a total of $1,458,600 in fraudulent refunds to that bank account. Davis used the funds, among other things, to purchase a Cadillac Escalade. As part of her plea agreement, Davis agreed to forfeit the Cadillac Escalade. Court records also establish that in 2011, Chiquanta Davis assisted with the filing of false tax using stolen identities. Between January and June of 2011, over 190 false returns were filed from her home.

Alabama Woman Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On September 13, 2012, in Montgomery, Ala., Crystal Sayles was sentenced to 64 months in prison and three years of supervised release for filing false claims, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. In addition, Sayles was ordered to pay over $1 million in restitution. She also agreed to forfeit a Mercedes Benz as part of her plea agreement.  According to her plea agreement, between January 2010 and July 2011, Sayles and others were involved with the filing of at least 482 fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities. These returns sought over $2 million in tax refunds. All of the returns were filed through a tax preparation business, Simmons Financial, which Sayles opened in another individual’s name to conceal her own involvement. The indictment alleged that the refunds were often directed to prepaid debit cards, and in the plea agreement, Sayles admitted to using a debit card loaded with a fraudulently obtained refund to receive cash.

Florida Identity Thief Sentenced on Tax Fraud Charges
On September 5, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Woody Ulysse was sentenced to 57 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In March 2011, an investigation began into a large number of fraudulent tax year 2010 income tax returns that had been filed by unknown individuals using compromised police and firefighter identities. All of the fraudulent returns requested refunds. Approximately 486 of these fraudulent tax returns were filed over the Internet, each using unsuspecting victim’s personal identifiers. The fraudulent returns all requested the refunds to be electronically deposited onto various pre-paid money cards. According to court documents and testimony, Ulysse used fraudulently funded Visa Green Dot prepaid debit cards that had been loaded with false IRS tax refund requests to make cash withdrawals at various local banks.

South Florida Man Sentenced for Identity Theft Related Charges
On September 4, 2012, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Loverson Gelmine was sentenced to 40 months in prison and three years of supervised release for possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft.  According to the factual proffer, Gelmine admitted that he had been involved in stealing identity information from a medical center.  Gelmine admitted that he took pictures of patient files with his phone and then sold the identity information.  He estimated that he sold approximately fifty identities in each of two prior transactions.  A warrant for the search of Gelmine’s phone revealed approximately 1,100 photographs of patient records containing the personal identity information of patients.

Defendants Sentenced in Identity Theft Related Tax Refund Scheme
On August 30, 2012, in Tallahassee, Fla., Willie Coachman, of Jasper, was sentenced to 70 months in prison for tax fraud conspiracy and seven counts of wire fraud. Gregory Antonio Clayton, of Perry, was sentenced to 33 months in prison following his guilty plea for being involved in the same tax fraud conspiracy. According to court documents, Coachman and Clayton are the last of nine defendants convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States by filing false tax returns. Earlier this year, seven co-defendants pleaded guilty to conspiring to prepare and file more than 350 fraudulent federal income tax returns between 2008 and 2011, seeking more than $2.4 million in tax refunds. The conspirators created fraudulent returns using taxpayer identification numbers and other personal identifying information stolen from both living and deceased individuals, as well as wholly fictitious information such as employer names, names of dependents, and tax withholding amounts. The first seven defendants were sentenced as follows:
• Loretta Lashaun Glover - sentenced to 108 months in prison
• Henry Edward Clayton - sentenced to 27 months in prison
• Tasheika Shamona Jackson - sentenced to 33 months in prison
• Melissa Lynn Clayton - sentenced to 36 months in prison
• Tabitha Ann Bass - sentenced to 29 months in prison  
• Genetris Carmine Jones  - sentenced to 48 months in prison
• Latosha Dawn Glover - sentenced to 66 months in prison

Pennsylvania Inmate Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On August 23, 2012, in Harrisburg, Pa., Theodore Scott, an inmate at Camp Hill Correctional Institution, was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay  $5,110 in restitution to the IRS for his role in a false claims tax scheme. Scott pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States by obtaining or aiding to obtain the payment of a false, fictitious or fraudulent claim. According to the indictment, Scott obtained the social security numbers of other persons and used them to file false and fraudulent tax returns requesting refunds from the IRS.  Scott also filed false and fraudulent tax returns in his own name. These false tax returns declared fictitious income amounts and claimed fraudulent tax refunds. As part of the scheme, the refund checks were directed to the addresses of co-conspirators who would deposit them bank accounts that Scott controlled.

Illinois Woman Sentenced for Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns
On August 20, 2012, in Chicago, Ill., Katrina Pierce, aka Rajona Pierce, was sentenced to 132 months in prison, ordered to pay $123,670 in restitution to the State of Illinois and $60,750 to the U.S. Treasury, as well as forfeit $207,183. Pierce used stolen identities, fraudulent documents, and obstructed justice in weaving a complicated web of financial deceit to defraud federal and state tax authorities, as well as the federal food stamp program. According to court documents, Pierce pleaded guilty in January 2012 to fraud and aggravated identity theft. During the course of the investigation, agents recovered 11 different Illinois’ driver’s licenses, all with Pierce’s photo, but the name of another individual. Agents also recovered numerous fake social security cards, and blank social security cards and birth certificates. Pierce even had what appeared to be a real birth certificate and social security card for Rajona Pierce. Using the stolen identities of deceased individuals and others, Pierce caused approximately 180 fraudulent federal individual income tax returns to be filed with the IRS for tax years 2006 and 2007. In each instance, Pierce falsely claimed that the tax return was being submitted by a representative of a deceased taxpayer. Each fraudulent return listed actual deceased individuals as the taxpayers, and falsely stated that the person had died during the tax year and was entitled to a tax refund. Over the course of the scheme, Pierce filed fraudulent tax returns falsely claiming a total of approximately $500,770 in tax refunds. The fraudulent returns included directions to mail the tax refunds to various addresses, including post office boxes controlled by Pierce. She also opened numerous bank accounts using her alias, and deposited fraudulently obtained tax refund checks into these accounts. In addition, between April 2006 and August 2010, Pierce defrauded an Illinois Department of Human Services program that provided funding to child care providers and fraudulently obtained approximately food stamp benefits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Alabama Return Preparer Sentenced for Tax Conspiracy Involving Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On August 8, 2012, in Montgomery, Ala., Yumeitrius Manuel was sentenced to 81 months in prison for filing false tax returns using stolen identities. Manuel was also ordered to pay $52,242 in restitution to the IRS. Manuel pleaded guilty on January 11, 2012, to charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Manuel and his co-conspirator, Margaret Kirksey, each owned and operated a tax preparation business in Montgomery, located in the same physical place. The two fraudulently inflated tax refunds by placing false information on their clients’ tax returns. They also filed tax returns in the names and social security numbers of individuals who did not know and did not authorize the filing of tax returns on their behalf. Both Manuel and Kirksey admitted that their respective crimes involved over $1 million in tax loss and more than 50 victims of identity theft.  Kirksey was sentenced on May 8, 2012, to 81 months in prison.

New York Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Threatening Federal Agents
On August  6, 2012, in New York, N.Y., Charles Patterson, of the Bronx, N.Y., was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a fraud tax conspiracy. Patterson was also ordered to pay $240,635 in restitution to the IRS. Patterson pleaded guilty to conspiring to file false and fraudulent income tax returns using the identification information of other individuals. The scheme resulted in the filing of more than 25 false returns and the receipt of approximately $200,000 in false refunds. He also pleaded guilty to attempting to forcibly interfere with the administration of the Internal Revenue laws by making threatening remarks to IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents during the investigation.

Former Correctional Officer and Tax Return Preparer Sentenced on Tax Fraud Charges
On July 26, 2012, in Tallahassee, Fla., Kimberly Nakia Lewis, a former state correctional officer, was sentenced to 25 months in prison and ordered to pay $7,295 in restitution. Christopher Lamont Shorter, a return preparer, was sentenced to 96 months in prison and ordered to pay $153,062 in restitution. Lewis and Shorter pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, mail fraud, filing false tax returns, and aggravated identity theft.  Shorter also pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges. According to court documents, while working at Appalachee Correctional Institution, Lewis provided the names and social security numbers of state prisoners to Shorter, the owner and operator of Complete Solutions Tax Service. Shorter used this information to file false federal income tax returns. The fraudulent returns included false entries concerning wages, names of employers, and tax withholding. Between November 2008 and March 2010, the conspirators filed fraudulent claims in the names of more than 120 inmates, seeking more than $1.3 million in refunds. Shorter established accounts at several federal credit unions to deposit the tax refunds. When they became aware of the fraud, the credit unions proactively returned funds to the IRS.  

Florida Tax Preparer Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On July 23, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Ernst Pierre, a tax preparer, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Pierre was charged with a scheme to file false federal income tax returns using stolen identity information. Pierre was also ordered to pay over $266,000 in restitution to the IRS. According to the indictment and Pierre’s admissions as part of his guilty plea, from October 2009 through May 2011, Pierre filed false tax returns for clients of Tax Max, a Port St. Lucie tax return preparation business he owned and operated. Pierre obtained the names and social security numbers of relatives of clients for whom he had prepared and submitted federal income tax returns and then fraudulently used those names and social security numbers as “dependents” on other client tax returns and on his own tax return. Pierre used these dependents to fraudulently inflate tax refunds.

Former Customer Service Representative Sentenced for Stealing Customers’ Identifying Information to File False Income Tax Returns
On July 23, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas, Youlanda Rochelle Wright was sentenced to 78 months in prison and ordered to pay $166,384 in restitution. Wright pleaded guilty in December 2011 to one count of false claims and one count of identity theft. According to court documents, Wright worked as a corporate Customer Service Representative in a call center. In that role, she often received customers’ personal identifying information, including social security numbers. Wright used that information to file U.S. income tax returns in customer’s names to claim refunds.  

Florida Woman Sentenced for Role in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme
On July 12, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Dorothy Boulin was sentenced to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release in connection with an identity theft tax fraud scheme. Boulin pleaded guilty on April 19, 2012, to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, sometime before January 2012, Boulin received a list of military personnel containing their names and social security numbers to be used for identity theft tax fraud purposes. On January 17, 2012, Boulin caused six fraudulent tax returns to be submitted online. Five of these returns were submitted without the authorization of the individuals whose social security numbers appeared on the returns. On January 19, 2012, Boulin caused another eight fraudulent tax returns to be submitted online. Seven of these returns were submitted without the authorization of the individuals whose social security numbers appeared on the returns.

Seven Florida Defendants Sentenced in Tax Refund Scheme
On June 21, 2012, in Tallahassee, Fla., seven defendants were sentenced to prison for their participation in a conspiracy to defraud the United States by filing false tax returns. Each of the seven previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to prepare and file more than 350 fraudulent federal income tax returns between 2008 and 2011, seeking more than $2.4 million in tax refunds. The conspirators created fraudulent returns using taxpayer identification numbers and other personal identifying information stolen from both living and deceased individuals, as well as wholly fictitious information such as employer names, names of dependents, and tax withholding amounts. The seven were sentenced as follows:
• Loretta Lashaun Glover, of Tampa - 108 months in prison  
• Henry Edward Clayton, of Tampa - 27 months in prison
• Tasheika Shamona Jackson, of Perry - 33 months in prison
• Melissa Lynn Clayton, of Perry - 36 months in prison
• Tabitha Ann Bass, of Perry - 29 months in prison
• Genetris Carmine Jones, of Perry - 48 months in prison
• Latosha Dawn Glover, of Perry - 66 months in prison

Two Defendants Sentenced for their Role in Tax Refund Fraud Utilizing Stolen Identity Information
On June 20, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Carlos Orozco, of Pembroke Pines, was sentenced to 12 months in prison for his participation in a tax refund scheme that used stolen social security identity information. On June 15, 2012, co-defendant Jean LaFrance, of North Miami, was sentenced to 57 months in prison for his participation in the same scheme. Each was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $82,708 in restitution to the United States Treasury. Orozco pleaded guilty to conspiracy to submitting false claims to the government. LaFrance pleaded guilty to conspiracy to submitting false claims to the government, theft of public money, and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents and statements made in court, between April and October 2011, Orozco worked as a volunteer at the Social Security Administration (SSA) office in Pembroke Pines, Florida. In his position, Orozco had access to sensitive SSA documents that contained the personal identification information of SSA applicants. Orozco stole sensitive documents from the SSA and, in exchange for cash payments, gave LaFrance the personal identification information of thousands of SSA applicants. LaFrance then used the stolen information to file false federal income tax returns. LaFrance claimed tax refunds to which he was not entitled and directed the IRS to deposit the refunds onto reloadable debit cards. Upon receipt of the loaded debit cards, LaFrance converted the refunds to cash.

Five Sentenced for Multi-Million Dollar Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme
On June 19, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla., Bryan Adrain Copeland, of Orange Park, was sentenced to 264 months in prison and ordered to pay $3,547,373 in restitution to the IRS. Copeland pleaded guilty in February 2012 to wire fraud, making false statements against the United States and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Copeland created a scheme to defraud the IRS by filing fraudulent federal income tax returns using stolen identity information. Four other scheme participants were also sentenced as follows:
• Veronica Olivia Brown, of Jacksonville, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $767,555 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
• Devron Tobey, of Jacksonville, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay $548,275 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
• Prientice Hooks, of Jacksonville, was sentenced to 12 months and one day of imprisonment and ordered to pay $313,822 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
• Beatrice Latangela Alphonse, of Miami, was sentenced to 63 months in prison.

Indiana Tax Preparer Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On June 4, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind., Tracy Knight, aka Tracy Hamilton, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $177,191 in restitution to the IRS. Knight pleaded guilty in November 2011, to five counts of filing false claims and identity theft. According to the Indictment, during 2008 and 2009, Knight operated a tax preparation business. In 2009, Knight prepared and electronically submitted approximately 65 federal income tax returns that contained false and fictitious information, including false Forms 1099, Schedule C information, false self-employment and business expenses, and fraudulent claims for the Earned Income Tax Credit. In certain instances, individuals authorized Knight to prepare and file their 2008 federal tax returns; however, Knight failed to inquire and ignored information provided by these individuals and filed fraudulent returns on their behalf. In other instances, Knight was not authorized by individuals to prepare and file 2008 federal tax returns, but she used their identity to file returns and claims for refunds. In these instances, Knight used the names, birth dates and social security numbers without the taxpayers' consent to file fraudulent 2008 tax returns. Knight directed that all or part of the fraudulent refunds be deposited into bank accounts she directly or indirectly controlled. Knight kept all or a substantial part of the refunds issued for her personal use.

South Carolina Tax Preparer Sentenced for Defrauding IRS

On June 6, 2012, in Columbia, S.C., Dorothy Lee Anderson, of Hopkins, was sentenced to 75 months in prison and ordered to pay over $289,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. In February 2012, Anderson was convicted of 18 counts of filing false, fictitious, and fraudulent claims and one count of aggravated identity theft. Evidence presented at trial established that Dorothy Anderson operated DL Anderson Tax Service from her home in Hopkins. Anderson filed fraudulent returns for the 2007 tax year using stolen identities. The stolen identities including identifying information from a former employer, relatives, prisoners and others.  Anderson used false household help income, false dependents, and claimed false Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on the tax returns.  She directed the tax refunds into two bank accounts both of which were owned or controlled by Anderson.  Anderson attempted to receive approximately $437,000 in bogus refunds.

California Woman Sentenced for Conspiring to File False Tax Returns

On June 6, 2012, in San Francisco, Calif., Kenestta “Peaches” Johnson, of Oakley, Calif., was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $52,316 in restitution. Johnson pleaded guilty in September 2011 to conspiracy to file false claims against the Internal Revenue Service. According to statements made during the plea, Johnson admitted that she assisted in filing false federal income tax returns during 2008 and 2009. The false tax returns were electronically filed from the computer at Johnson’s residence in Oakley. The returns used stolen identities and asked to have the false tax refunds deposited onto prepaid debit cards. This is an ongoing investigation related to criminal complaints in which the IRS identified more than 800 false income tax returns claiming $6.2 million in fraudulent tax refunds.

Montana Man Sentenced for Submitting False Claims for Refund and Identity Theft

On June 6, 2012, in Billings, Mont., Charles Andre Deschanel was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $85,913 in restitution. Deschanel pleaded guilty in March 2012 to submitting false claims and identity theft. According to court documents, for tax years 2008 and 2009, Deschanel prepared and filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) fraudulent federal income tax returns in his name and the names of other individuals. Each of the returns contained a false form W-2 purporting that the person was employed and earned income. Each return, with the exception of his own, listed the name of a deceased individual. In all, Deschanel attempted to obtain $128,368 in fraudulent refunds.

Three Texas Women Sentenced in Half-Million Dollar Tax Scheme

On June 1, 2012, in Laredo, Texas, Eloisa Garcia Casso was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. On May 25, 2012, co-defendants Jacqueline Velasquez and Rosa Herrera were sentenced. Velasquez was sentenced to 40 months in prison and Herrera to four years of probation, including eight months of home confinement. Casso pleaded guilty on February 25, 2011, for executing a scheme to steal individual taxpayer’s identities and use the information to submit false Form 1040s and Schedule Cs to claim tax refunds. Velasquez and Herrera pleaded guilty to similar charges on December 7, 2010, and February 17, 2011, respectively. According to court documents, Casso worked for the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division and Herrera worked for the Laredo Housing Authority. They used their positions to steal agency client identities, all of whom were vulnerable, low-income Webb County residents. They passed the information to Velasquez, who falsified tax return documents and submitted then to the IRS. The IRS refunds were deposited into borrowed bank accounts belonging to friends and associates of the conspirators, or the defendants would apply to a bank for refund anticipation loans. Routine IRS audit processes uncovered some suspicious returns and at least one victim taxpayer, after attempting to file a proper tax return, discovered the fraud. At her guilty plea, Casso admitted to receiving or attempting to receive up to $200,000 during the conspiracy, which spanned from January 2001 through March 2005.

Five Sentenced for Their Roles in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme

On June 1, 2012, in Cleveland, Ohio, Fahim Suleiman and Muuad Salem were sentenced to prison in connection with their roles as conspirators in a scheme to defraud the United States by obtaining false and fraudulent U.S. Treasury tax refund checks. Suleiman was sentenced to 64 months in prison. Salem was sentenced to 27 months in prison. According to the indictment, from April 2009 to at least August 2011, Muaad Salem, Fahim Suleiman, Najeh Widdi, Hanan Widdi, Hazem Woodi, Daxesj Patel and others defrauded the United States by filing false and fraudulent tax returns, many in the names of recently deceased taxpayers. The conspirators sold and distributed the Treasury checks for negotiation at various businesses and banking institutions. Other co-conspirators previously sentenced include:
 - Najeh Widdi - 36 months in prison;
 - Hanan Widdi - 21 months in prison; and
 - Hazem Woodi - 18 months in prison.
All five defendants were ordered to pay jointly $177,744 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. 

Five Individuals Sentenced for Conspiracy to Obtain Fraudulent Tax Refunds

On May 17, 2012, in Albany, Ga., five individuals were sentenced to prison for participating in a conspiracy to obtain fraudulent federal tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service. The conspirators prepared over 150 false federal income tax returns using the names and identifying information of prison inmates or persons living in the community. Marvin Jones, Jr. and Russell Navarre prepared false W-2 forms from the prison library and sent them to the IRS.  The defendants received the refund checks and divided the proceeds among themselves. Russell Navarre was sentenced to 105 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $439,513 in restitution. Towan White was sentenced to 64 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $706,936 in restitution. Damico Evans was sentenced to 41 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $873,269 in restitution. Marvin Jones, Jr. was sentenced to 41 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $539,137 in restitution. James B. Wiley was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $659,539 in restitution.

Tennessee Resident Sentenced for Tax and Identity Theft Scheme

On May 16, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn., Rhonda Mayweather was sentenced to 168 months in prison and three years of supervised release for filing fraudulent tax returns.  Mayweather was also ordered to pay $218,577 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and $6,200 to individual victims of the scheme.  Additionally, Mayweather was told that she was not allowed to prepare any income tax returns for other individuals.  Mayweather pleaded guilty in February 2012 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, two counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of smuggling, and one count of mail fraud. According to the indictment, Mayweather and a co-conspiractor devised a scheme to obtain fraudulent refunds from the IRS by filing false 2005, 2006, and 2007 federal income tax returns in the names of individuals whose identities they had stolen. Brooks and Mayweather attempted to obtain over $2 million by filing for over 500 fraudulent refunds during the scheme. In addition to filing fraudulent tax returns, Mayweather smuggled counterfeit postal money orders, traveler’s checks and cashier’s checks from Nigeria.

Alabama Sisters Sentenced for Their Roles in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme

On May 16, 2012, in Montgomery, Ala., Loretta Fergerson and her sister, Tracey Fergerson, were each sentenced to 115 months prison for their involvement in a conspiracy to file claims for false income tax refunds using stolen identities.  The Fergerson sisters were also ordered to pay $504,305 in restitution to the IRS.  According to court documents, Loretta Fergerson owned and operated a tax return preparation business called Fast Tax Cash in Montgomery, Ala. From 2005 through 2008, Loretta and Tracey Fergerson filed tax returns using stolen identities to claim fraudulent tax refunds. Additionally, Loretta Fergerson and her employees filed tax returns for Fast Tax Cash customers that contained false information to obtain higher refunds for customers.  Court records established that Tracey Fergerson participated in the scheme by gathering stolen personal information and cashing refund checks for tax returns that were filed using the stolen personal information. Tracey Fergerson also recruited customers and coached them to provide false information. She further admitted that she improperly obtained personal information to have false tax returns prepared at Fast Tax Cash.

Defendant Sentenced for His Role in Tax Fraud Conspiracy

On May 9, 2012, in Newark, N.J., Pedro Rafael Castillo Roman was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.  Roman pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. According to court documents, in May 2011, Roman conspired with others to retrieve income tax return checks that other conspirators caused the U.S. Department of the Treasury to issue and mail to various addresses in Middlesex County, N.J. Other members of the conspiracy filed phony individual income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service using the identity information of other individuals, including citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, that sought federal tax refunds.  Law enforcement recovered $310,647 as a result of the arrest of Roman and others

Former Navy Petty Officer Sentenced for Selling Fellow Sailors’ Identities for Use in Phony Tax Returns

On May 8, 2012, in Atlanta, Ga., Kevon Kerr was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $9,857 in restitution.  Kerr, a former Navy petty officer, stole and sold the identities of Navy recruits which were later used to file fraudulent tax returns.  According to the charges and other information presented in court, in early 2010, Kerr was assigned to an in-processing center for new and prospective Navy recruits at Fort Gillem, in Georgia, and entrusted with personnel files.  Kerr photocopied the recruits’ driver’s licenses and social security cards and provided the copies to Tyrone Boyd, of Decatur, Ga., who served with Kerr in the U.S. Navy.  Boyd and Lawanda Mitchell, of Atlanta, Ga., then provided the stolen identities to Ashuana Turner, of Riverdale, Ga., who filed fraudulent federal and state tax returns containing the names, dates of birth and social security numbers that Kerr had stolen. In total, Turner filed 42 fraudulent returns on using the identities Navy personnel, including sailors and incoming recruits. The three other defendants were sentenced in the case. Tyrone Boyd was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $9,857 in restitution.  Ashuana Turner was sentenced 42 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $121,905 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and $73,935 in restitution to the Georgia Department of Revenue.  Lawanda Mitchell was sentenced to 39 months in prison, five years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $9,857 in restitution. 

Alabama Return Preparer Sentenced for Tax Conspiracy Involving Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

On May 8, 2012, in Montgomery, Ala., Margaret Kirksey was sentenced to 81 months in prison for filing false tax returns using stolen identities.  Kirksey was also ordered to pay $52,242 in restitution to the IRS.  In January 2012, Kirksey pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, Kirksey and her co-conspirator, Yumeitrius Manuel, each owned and operated a tax preparation business in Montgomery in the same location.  The two fraudulently inflated tax refunds by placing false information on their clients’ tax returns.  They also filed tax returns in the names and social security numbers of individuals who did not know about, and did not authorize, Kirksey or Manuel to file tax returns on their behalf.  Both Manuel and Kirksey admitted that their respective crimes involved over $1 million in tax loss and more than 50 victims of identity theft. 

Leaders of Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Ring Sentenced

On May 8, 2012, in Montgomery, Ala., Veronica Dale and Alchico Grant, who jointly ran a stolen identity refund fraud ring that attempted to defraud the United States of millions of dollars over several years, were sentenced to prison. Veronica Dale, of Montgomery, was sentenced to 334 months in prison and Alchico Grant, of Lowndes County, Ala., was sentenced to 310 months in prison.  Dale and Grant were both ordered to pay over $2.8 million in restitution to the IRS. In September 2011, Grant pleaded guilty to five charges from two separate indictments, including conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. In October 2011, Dale pleaded guilty to seven charges from two indictments, including conspiracy, filing false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, beginning in 2009 and continuing through 2010, the defendants were part of a scheme that involved fraudulently obtaining tax refunds by filing false tax returns using stolen identities. Dale admitted that she filed over 500 fraudulent returns that sought at least $3,741,908 in tax refunds.  These returns were filed using the names of Medicaid beneficiaries, whose personal information Dale obtained while working for a company that serviced Medicaid programs.  Dale directed the refunds to different bank accounts that she and other co-conspirators controlled. The second indictment charged a conspiracy that involved Dale, Grant, Melinda Clayton, and Stephanie Adams.  According to court documents, this conspiracy extended from January 2011 to April 2011, when federal agents executed a search warrant at Clayton’s house and arrested her. In her plea agreement, Dale admitted that this scheme involved a fraud loss of between $400,000 and $1 million.  Dale admitted to providing Clayton with stolen identities to support the new scheme.  The tax refunds were directed to bank accounts and prepaid debit cards that Dale and Grant purchased.

New York Man Sentenced for Role in Conspiracy Involving Fraudulent U.S. Income Tax Returns

On April 30, 2012, in Tampa, Fla., Grievy Nehemias Sanchez-Villar, of the Bronx, N.Y., was sentenced to 18 months in prison for conspiracy to commit theft or receipt of stolen mail matter.  Sanchez-Villar pleaded guilty to the offense in February 2012.  According to court documents, Sanchez-Villar participated in a conspiracy with others including Carmelo Rosado, Jr. and Victor Manuel Pena to file fraudulent federal individual income tax returns.  The fraudulent tax returns requested tax refunds to be mailed to addresses throughout the United States, including Florida.  The conspiracy also involved stealing and taking possession of the tax refund checks so that they could be negotiated for the benefit of the conspirators and others. Through identity theft, fraudulent federal income tax returns in the names of individuals who are residents of Puerto Rico were filed with the Internal Revenue Service.  (The names and social security numbers of residents of Puerto Rico were used illegally because Puerto Rico residents typically are not required to file federal income tax returns with the IRS if all the Puerto Rico resident's income was derived from Puerto Rican sources.)  Among the fraudulent returns were approximately 68 returns that requested a total of $509,017 in tax refunds.  In related cases, Victor Manuel Pena, of the Bronx, N.Y., was sentenced in December 2011 to 18 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy.  In March 2012, Carmelo Rosado, Jr., of Riverview and formerly from Orlando, was sentenced to 37 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy and  bribery of a public official.

 

Alabama Woman Sentenced for Identity Theft, Tax and Wire Fraud Charges

On March 30, 2012, in Mobile, Ala., Alice Mobley, of Monroeville, Ala., was sentenced to 75 months in prison and ordered to pay $720,067 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and forfeit $593,949 to the United States. Mobley pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud the United States, one count of assisting in the filing of false tax returns, one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. The charges were in connection with the filing of false tax returns through Preyear Tax and Check Cashing, LLC; Kimble and Preyear Tax Service; and Henry’s Tax Service. According to court documents, Mobley knowingly conspired with workers of these businesses to file fraudulent tax returns. Mobley purchased identifying information for children and other dependents to use as the basis for tax deductions, the earned income credit, the child dependent care credit and other credits on tax returns for people who were not related to the dependents. Some of Mobley’s clients were aware of the false information on their tax returns but others were not. Mobley filed returns without the knowledge or permission of individuals and kept the refunds from those returns. Mobley also added false items to client returns without the client’s knowledge or consent and kept the additional refunds from the false items.

Four Sentenced for Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme

On March 20, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C., four out of seven defendants were sentenced in a scheme to defraud the government by obtaining false and fraudulent income tax refunds.  Each of the four defendants sentenced had previously pleaded guilty to one count of false claims conspiracy:
• Dania Ramos, of Lincolnton, was sentenced to 48 months in prison.
• Jose de Jesus, aka Jose Ramos, of Vale, was sentenced to 37 months in prison.
• Xiomara Amparo, of Lincolnton, was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
• Mildred DePena, Lincolnton, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison.
Of the three remaining defendants charged in the indictment, Nelson Jimenez and Arileyda Amparo, both of Lincolnton, await sentencing. Johan Vargas, of Hickory, remains a fugitive.  According to court documents and court proceedings: From January 2010 through February 2011, the defendants participated in a scheme to obtain false tax refunds. The defendants obtained stolen identity information, including names and Social Security numbers of individuals in Puerto Rico, and prepared fraudulent federal tax returns using that information. The defendants sought fraudulent refunds totaling more than $3 million during 2010 and more than $2 million from January 2011 up until their arrest in mid-February 2011.

Alabama Woman Sentenced for Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Scheme

On March 13, 2011, in Montgomery, Ala., Melinda Clayton was sentenced to 61 months in prison and ordered to pay $494,424 in restitution. According to court records, Clayton was involved in a conspiracy with Veronica Dale, Alchico Grant, Valerie Byrd and Stephanie Adams to defraud the United States by filing false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The conspiracy involved using stolen identities to file false tax returns.  Dale, Grant, Adams and Byrd have all pleaded guilty to federal crimes. According to the indictment and plea agreement, Clayton stored tens of thousands of stolen means of identification (names and social security numbers) at her house, which came from numerous sources, including private companies, health clinics and prisons. Dale and Clayton used the stolen identities to file false returns that fraudulently claimed tax refunds. They directed the refunds to bank accounts and debit cards. Grant and Dale would buy debit cards to use in the scheme, while Clayton, Adams and Byrd all provided bank accounts to receive fraudulent refunds. Between January 2011 and April 2011, the conspirators filed returns claiming almost $500,000 in fraudulent refunds.

Former IRS Employee Sentenced on Theft of Government Property and Aggravated Identity Theft Convictions

On February 9, 2012, in Dallas, Texas, Thomas W. Richardson, of Mansfield, was sentenced to 105 months in prison and ordered to pay $30,649 in restitution.  Richardson pleaded guilty in August 2011 to one count of theft of government property and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to the factual resume filed in the case, Richardson admitted that within a two-day period in April 2006, he filed or caused to be filed 29 fraudulent 2005 IRS Forms 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns.  Each federal income tax return claimed a refund of between $215,801 and $473,832.  Richardson admitted that each tax return was filed claiming the married filing jointly election and listed two taxpayers, husband and wife.  The tax returns were prepared without the authorization of the 58 taxpayers listed on the tax returns.  All of the returns directed the IRS to pay the money to one of Richardson’s bank accounts. 

Kansas Tax Preparer Sentenced for Filing False Federal Tax Returns

On February 7, 2012, in Topeka, Kan., John Karundo Mukundi was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $209,000 in restitution for filing false federal income tax returns. Mukundi pleaded guilty to 14 counts of making false claims and 12 counts of wire fraud. In his plea, he admitted he obtained tax preparation software from Tax Wise and used it to submit fraudulent tax returns electronically to the Internal Revenue Service. He used the tax returns to obtain advanced payments of refunds through refund anticipation loans and refund transfers from banks. Mukundi used the names and Social Security numbers of real people who were not aware that he was using their identities to file false federal income tax returns.

Arizona Man Sentenced for Filing False Claims for Refunds and Identity Theft

On February 6, 2012, in Phoenix, Ariz., Shelton DeWayne Tanner, of Tucson, Ariz., was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $386,938 in restitution.  Tanner pleaded guilty on October 25, 2011, to conspiracy to commit the crimes of false claims, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, Tanner and others used stolen identities of disabled individuals to claim more than $1,000,000 in bogus tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service. Tanner and his associates took several sophisticated steps to conceal their misconduct, including filing the tax returns electronically using their neighbors’ unsecured wireless networks, directing the refunds to prepaid debit card accounts they had obtained under false identities, and recruiting friends and associates to receive the prepaid debit cards by mail at various addresses.

North Carolina Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud

On February 2, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C., John Lamar Jenkins, of Charlotte, N.C., was sentenced to 27 months in prison, one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay $275,052 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. Jenkins pleaded guilty in June 2011 to one count of filing a false tax return for tax year 2007.  According to court documents and statements made in court, for tax years 2005 through 2007, Jenkins filed false joint individual tax returns and, based on false W-2 forms that claimed fraudulent amounts of federal tax withholding, he claimed fraudulent tax refunds totaling $211,263.  In addition, Jenkins filed 11 false tax returns, again using fraudulent W-2 forms in the names of other individuals, seeking $184,876 in fraudulent refunds. Jenkins filed those false tax returns without these individuals’ knowledge or permission. Jenkins sought to have those refunds deposited into a bank account under his control.

South Carolina Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud

On February 2, 2012, in Columbia, S.C., Maxine Adams, of Charleston, S.C., was sentenced to 12 months in prison and three years of supervised release for tax fraud. Evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing established that in 2006 through 2008, Adams filed 42 fraudulent tax returns using the identifying information of inmates in state prison.  Her husband is incarcerated, and he provided Adams with the names, birth dates, and social security numbers of fellow inmates.  Adams created fraudulent W-2 wage and tax forms for these inmates.  Using the fraudulent W-2s, Adams filed tax returns for the inmates that claimed tax refunds for which the inmates were not entitled to received.  Additionally, the inmates were not aware of the fraud and did not receive any of the refund money. 

Illinois Man Sentenced for Receiving Fraudulent Income Tax Refunds

On February 1, 2012, in Benton, Ill., David Childers was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $806,101 in restitution for receiving fraudulent refunds from false income tax returns.  According to court documents, in January 2008, Jessica Childers began electronically submitting false income tax returns to the IRS using the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of real individuals who were deceased.  Between January 2008 and March 2010, Jessica Childers submitted 572 such false returns claiming entitlement to $1,532,184 in refunds.  Jessica Childers was sentenced on January 13, 2012, to 108 months in prison and ordered to pay $806,101 in restitution with David Childers to the IRS.

Owner of Alabama Tax Business Sentenced for Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Scheme

On January 24, 2012, in Montgomery, Ala., Marsha Elmore, of Wetumpka, Ala., was sentenced to 184 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,157,241 in restitution.  Elmore, the owner of a tax preparation business called Community Tax, used her business to run a scheme to steal tax refunds by filing false tax returns with stolen identities.  She pleaded guilty in November 2011 to one count each of filing false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Elmore had previously been sentenced to 60 months in prison for a violation of supervised release, which was based on the same conduct. The current sentence of 184 months will to run consecutively to her previous sentence of 60 months. According to court documents, Elmore’s fraudulent activity ran from at least 2009 until July 2011. She unlawfully obtained the names, social security numbers and dates of birth of various individuals and used them to file false tax returns through Community Tax. Those tax returns claimed refunds that were directed to bank accounts and debit cards that Elmore controlled. Elmore also filed false tax returns using online filing websites.  All together, Community Tax and Elmore were linked to almost 1,400 tax returns during this time period.

Alabama Couple Sentenced for Using Inmates’ Information to File False Claims for Refunds

On January 23, 2012, in Birmingham, Ala., Ricky Walter Denton, of Tuscumbia, was sentenced to 70 months in prison for conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Denton pleaded guilty to the charges in August.  According to court documents, between January 2007 and May 2010, Denton and a co-defendant, Joann Smith Choat, also of Tuscumbia, conspired to obtain $148,685 in false income tax refunds by taking inmates’ identifying information and filing false returns.  Denton obtained the identifying information of fellow inmates and used it to create the false tax forms, which he mailed to post office boxes in Tuscumbia that Choat had opened at his request. Choat submitted the fraudulent tax forms to the IRS, and when she received refunds on them, deposited the U.S. Treasury checks into her personal credit union account.  Choat was sentenced in August 2011 to 12 months and a day in prison for her role in the tax fraud scheme.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud

On January 13, 2012, in Tampa, Fla., Patricia Shaw was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $126,002 in restitution. Shaw pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false claim in October 2011.  In her plea agreement, Shaw admitted that from at least 2006, through and including April 2011, she and others obtained identifying information from individuals, including social security numbers, and used this information to prepare and electronically file dozens of false income tax returns. In some cases, the individuals whose names and social security numbers appeared on these false returns did not know that Shaw and others were filing income tax returns on their behalf. In other instances, the individuals willingly provided their identifying information to be used in the filing of false tax returns in exchange for a nominal fee. When Shaw and her co-conspirators electronically filed these returns that Shaw knew to be false, it caused the IRS to generate refunds payable to the filer. These refunds were most often deposited into a bank account controlled by Shaw's co-conspirator. The proceeds of the fraudulent refunds were then divided or were intended to be divided among the conspirators. Law enforcement identified 24 fraudulent tax returns that were created and caused to be filed by Shaw for the tax years 2006 through 2010.

Illinois Woman Sentenced for Receiving Nearly $1 Million in Fraudulent Income Tax Refunds

On January 13, 2012, in East St. Louis, Ill., Jessica Childers was sentenced to 108 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $860,801 in restitution to the IRS for submitting false federal tax returns.  According to court documents, in January 2008, Childers began electronically submitting false income tax returns to the IRS using the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of real individuals who were deceased. Between January 2008 and March 2010, Childers submitted 572 such false returns claiming over $1.5 million in fraudulent refunds.  After discovering the scam, federal authorities were able to seize $192,512 from her bank accounts.

Tennessee Resident Sentenced for Role in Tax and Identity Theft Scheme

On December 21, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn., Nakita J. Brooks was sentenced to 108 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $110,104 in restitution of which $104,104 is payable to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Brooks and a co-conspirator, Rhonda T. Mayweather, were indicted in October 2010; Brooks pleaded guilty in September 2011. According to the indictment, Brooks and Mayweather devised a scheme to obtain payment of fraudulent refunds from the IRS by filing false 2005, 2006, and 2007 federal income tax returns in the names of individuals whose identities they had stolen. Brooks and Mayweather obtained names, social security numbers and other identifying information of various individuals, both alive and deceased, from the Social Security Death Index and from an underground website. They then prepared fictitious Forms W-2, claiming false wages and withholding amounts, and used these forms to file income tax returns with the IRS using online tax software, claiming tax refunds that were deposited into bank accounts controlled by Brooks and Mayweather.

Alabama Woman Sentenced for Stealing Identities of Student Loan Borrowers and Filing False Tax Returns

On December 21, 2011, in Montgomery, Ala., Janika Fernae Bates, of Millbrook, Ala., was sentenced to 94 months in prison and ordered to pay $246,064 in restitution to HSBC Taxpayer Financial Services and $30,211 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Bates was convicted by a trial jury in September 2011 of identity theft, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to make false claims for tax refunds.  According to evidence introduced at trial, Bates obtained the names and Social Security numbers of student loan borrowers from the databases at her former employer and conspired to use the stolen identifying information to file false tax returns.  Several victims testified that they did not consent to the use of their names and Social Security numbers on tax returns and they testified that they did not receive any money from refunds generated from the false documents filed with the IRS.  Evidence also revealed that Bates and her co-conspirator, Keshia Brayboy, fraudulently obtained refund anticipation loans from a bank predicated on the fraudulently filed tax returns.  Brayboy pleaded guilty in 2009 to filing a false tax return and served two years in federal prison.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Tax and Mail Fraud

On December 9, 2011, in Tampa, Fla., Shawntrece Sims was sentenced to 108 months in prison for tax fraud and mail fraud. Sims was also ordered to pay $672,887 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury and to forfeit profits obtained from her scheme to defraud the government. In her plea agreement, Sims admitted that she knowingly engaged in a scheme to defraud the U.S. government whereby she obtained identifying information from individuals, including social security numbers, and used this information to prepare and electronically file dozens of false income tax returns. In many cases, the individuals whose names and social security numbers appeared on these false returns did not know Sims and others were filing income tax returns on their behalf.  In other instances, the individuals were deceased. In her plea agreement, Sims admitted to filing at least 44 false tax returns for the 2008 tax year which generated refunds totaling $263,004.  Sims continued filing false tax returns after agreeing to plead guilty and cooperate with the United States. As a result of her conduct for both the 2008 tax year, to which she admitted in her plea agreement, and the 2010 tax year conduct identified by law enforcement subsequent to her guilty plea, Sims was responsible for a total loss of $672,887 to the U.S. Treasury.

Bronx Man Sentenced for Fraudulently Cashing More Than $1.2 Million in Tax Refund Checks in New Jersey

On November 29, 2011, in Trenton, N.J., Amaury Mercedes del Orbe, of the Bronx, N.Y., was sentenced to 34 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,362,458 in restitution for conspiring to fraudulently cash more than $1.2 million in federal and state income tax refund checks. According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, from August to September 2010, Mercedes del Orbe conspired with others to fraudulently present for payment tax refund checks issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and state tax agencies at check-cashing establishments in New Jersey. Members of the conspiracy filed false and fraudulent individual income tax returns with the IRS and New Jersey using the identity information of other individuals, including citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico that sought state and federal tax refunds. The tax refund checks were sent to different addresses in New Jersey that were controlled by members of the conspiracy. Mercedes del Orbe admitted that he conspired to fraudulently cash approximately $1,249,262 in federal tax refund checks and approximately $113,193 in state tax refund checks at check-cashing establishments in the New Jersey area.

Florida Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Related Identity Theft

On November 22, 2011, in Tampa, Fla., Roger Snells, of Tampa, was sentenced to 54 months in prison for tax fraud and aggravated identity theft and ordered to pay mandatory restitution of $26,164 to the U.S. Treasury. Snells pleaded guilty on September 2, 2011. According to court documents, Snells admitted to being engaged in a tax fraud scheme in which he fraudulently used the names and identifying information of deceased individuals to electronically file fraudulent federal tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. As a result, Snells received tax refunds to which he was not entitled. According to the plea agreement, law enforcement officials located more than 100 fraudulent tax returns on Snells’s laptop computer. The returns included ones that Snells had filed and others he intended to file with the IRS. Many of the returns contained the identities of deceased individuals. The total amount of false claims fraudulently submitted by Snells to the IRS was $165,599.

Former Tennessee Inmate Sentenced for Filing False Tax Claims for Prison Inmates

On November 18, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn., Walter Allen Johnson, aka Beau Johnson, a former Tennessee Department of Correction inmate, was sentenced to 92 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $57,880 for his role in a conspiracy to submit false tax returns on behalf of prison inmates.  During a plea hearing on February  28, 2011, Johnson admitted that, from February 2006 through January 2007, while incarcerated by the Tennessee Department of Correction, he conspired with others to defraud the United States by submitting false tax returns that claimed refunds on behalf of other inmates.  To execute the scheme, Johnson collected social security numbers from other inmates and recruited other inmates to collect social security numbers for him.  Johnson and his co-conspirators then used those social security numbers to file false income tax forms with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in the names of inmates, claiming refunds to which the inmates were not entitled. The government presented evidence at sentencing that, as a result of the scheme, Johnson and his co-conspirators collected approximately 87 U.S. Treasury checks totaling approximately $57,880.

Georgia Man Sentenced on Tax Fraud Conspiracy Charges

On November 3, 2011, in Atlanta, Ga., Rahman Hill, of Mableton, Ga., was sentenced to 100 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,660,152 in restitution to the IRS.  Hill is the fourth member of the conspiracy to be sentenced.  According to court documents and other information presented in court: The conspirators obtained personal identifying information from people in homeless shelters, jails, and other locations, and used that information to file income tax returns with falsely inflated claims for refunds. The conspirators filed 123 returns between December 2005 and March 2007 and received $1,660,152 in refunds.  The other conspirators were previously sentenced as follows: Kelcey Pierre Miller, of Atlanta, Ga., was sentenced to 75 months in prison; Peter Raymond Williams, of Newark, N.J., was sentenced to 63 months in prison and three years of supervised release; and  Keith Lamone Richard, of Decatur, Ga.,was sentenced to three years of probation, with the first six months of that period to be served in home confinement.  Miller, Richard and Williams were also ordered to pay restitution to the IRS for the loss that their conspiracy caused. 

Indianapolis Man Sentenced for Tax and Unemployment Fraud

On November 1, 2011, in Indianapolis, Ind., Lorenzo Lipscomb was sentenced to 84 months in prison and ordered to pay $112,803 in restitution for tax fraud and unemployment benefits fraud.  According to court documents, from 2006 through 2008, Lipscomb repeatedly used stolen names and social security numbers of individuals, living and deceased, to fill out fictitious tax returns through the use of various online tax filing services. These returns were designed to yield significant rebates, which were to be transmitted via electric funds transfers to personal bank accounts. However, an IRS investigation identified Lipscomb and as a result, more than 85 percent of the fraudulent claims were denied.  Also, between January and July of 2009, Lipscomb repeatedly filed online claims for unemployment benefits with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s Unemployment Insurance program. Once again, Lipscomb used stolen names and social security numbers of recently deceased individuals to submit fraudulent claims that resulted in public funds being transferred to debit cards that Lipscomb used for personal expenses.

Alabama Woman Sentenced in Tax Fraud Case

On October 24, 2011, in Montgomery, Ala., Tawana Powell, of Prattville, Alabama was sentenced to 35 months in prison and ordered to pay $676,465 in restitution to the United States.  Powell pleaded guilty to conspiring to file false and fraudulent federal income tax returns tax fraud charges on August 4, 2011.  According to court documents, between 2005 and 2007, Powell and her co-conspirators filed over 160 fraudulent returns with the IRS by using stolen identifying information of other individuals.

Tax Preparer Sentenced for Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme

On October 17, 2011, in Atlanta, Ga., Deidra McClendon, of Conley, Georgia, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $784,000 in restitution.  McClendon pleaded guilty in April 2011 to filing fraudulent tax returns, identity theft and unauthorized use of another person’s Social Security number. According to court documents and information presented in court, from March 2007 to approximately February 2008, McClendon conducted a fraudulent tax filing scheme in which false 1099 employer earnings statements were submitted in support of tax returns for various individuals, some of whom were unaware that their personal information was being used to file and obtain tax refunds. McClendon also filed a tax return on behalf of her mother who died prior to the tax year for which a return was filed. Her scheme generated several hundred thousand of dollars of fraudulent refunds and was discovered after McClendon’s employer conducted an audit, noticed suspicious transactions and reported them to the IRS.

Man Sentenced for Using Stolen Identities to File Hundreds of Tax Returns

On October 3, 2011, in Dallas, Texas, Sebastian Matipano was sentenced to 57 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,681,363 in restitution.  Matipano pleaded guilty in June 2011 to one count of false, fictitious or fraudulent claims. According to documents filed in the case, as part of Matipano’s tax fraud scheme, he obtained Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) for other individuals and used them to file, or cause to be filed, more than 250 individual tax returns and to request more than $1.5 million in refund anticipation loans. According to the detention order entered by the Court, despite an active warrant for his arrest, Matipano was able to leave the U.S. and travel to Zimbabwe in January 2011. Following his arrest at a traffic stop in Canton, Matipano called associates and directed them to transfer approximately $400,000 to Zimbabwe. When Matipano was arrested, he possessed 75 stored value cards, totaling approximately $53,461, two laptop computers and a flash drive and $6,452 in cash.  An additional $840 in cash was later found in the rental car he was driving.

 

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