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Examples of Identity Theft Schemes - Fiscal Year 2013

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

Two Sentenced for Participating in Identity Theft Scam
On September 30, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif., Michael Williams, of Palmdale, was sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $787,086 in restitution. Mike Niko, of Los Angeles, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $104,662 in restitution. According to court documents, from May 2008 through July 2010, Williams and Niko conspired with others to defraud the United States by using the personal identifying information of various individuals to file false tax returns claiming fraudulent tax refunds. A co-conspirator stole names and social security numbers from the California Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) computer system. The fraudulent returns claimed the First Time Home Buyer Credit and/or Earned Income Credit. Purporting to be tax preparers, Williams and Niko established bank accounts for the purpose of receiving the refunds claimed on the false tax returns.

Florida Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud 
On September 24, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., Maurice J. Larry was sentenced to 174 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $2,240,096. He pleaded guilty on April 11, 2013 to wire fraud and identity theft charges. Larry will serve this sentence concurrently with his sentence from another unrelated tax fraud case in which he received 101 months in prison for conspiracy to defraud the United States Treasury through tax fraud and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, Larry and his co-conspirator, Rashia Wilson, engaged in a scheme to defraud the IRS by negotiating fraudulently obtained tax refunds. They did so by receiving U.S. Treasury checks and pre-paid debit cards that were loaded with proceeds derived from filing false and fraudulent federal income tax returns in other persons' names, without those persons’ permission or knowledge. Larry and Wilson filed these false and fraudulent federal income tax returns from multiple locations, including Wilson's residence and hotels in the Tampa area. Wilson, Larry, and others then used these fraudulently obtained tax refunds to make hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of retail purchases, to purchase money orders, and to withdraw cash. During the course of the investigation, agents searched Wilson's residence and Larry's storage unit. They recovered thousands of names and social security numbers found in ledgers and various other records. Additional reloadable debit cards loaded with fraudulent tax refunds were also found in both locations. Rashia Wilson was sentenced on July 16, 2013, to 234 months in prison.

Alabama State Employee Sentenced for Providing Names in Identity Theft Scheme
On September 23, 2013, in Montgomery Ala., Lea’Tice Phillips was sentenced to 94 months in prison and ordered to pay $567,631 in restitution. Phillips pleaded guilty on May 30, 2013 to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to the court documents, Phillips worked for an Alabama state agency and had access to state databases that contained forms of identification of individuals. Between October 2009 and April 2012, Phillips conspired with Antoinette Djonret and others to file false tax returns using stolen identities. On multiple occasions, Phillips accessed a state database to obtain identification which she then sent to Djonret.  Djonret and others used the stolen identification to file false tax returns, mostly from Djonret’s residence in Montgomery. Djonret and her co-conspirators used an elaborate network of individuals to launder the tax refunds. They recruited individuals to purchase prepaid debit cards on their behalf. Fraudulently obtained tax refunds were directed to the prepaid debit cards that Djonret and her co-conspirators used to obtain the proceeds. Some of the prepaid debit cards were in the name of Phillips. In total, Djonret filed over 1,000 false tax returns that claimed over $1.7 million in fraudulent tax refunds. Antoinette Djonret was sentenced to serve 144 months in prison for her role in the conspiracy.  

Florida Resident Sentenced for Aggravated Identity Theft
On September 23, 2013, in Orlando, Fla., Abdul Cunningham, of Rockledge, Fla., was sentenced to 144 months in prison, ordered to pay $560,731 in restitution and a money judgment of $560,731. Cunningham pleaded guilty on June 13, 2013 to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. A co-defendant, Jana Harris-Cunningham, pleaded guilty on June 24, 2013 and is awaiting sentencing. According to court documents, the defendants engaged in a scheme to defraud the United States Treasury by filing fraudulent income tax returns and negotiating fraudulent tax refunds using stolen identities. Cunningham and Harris-Cunningham filed 145 false claims with the IRS for tax years 2010 and 2011. As part of their scheme, both used the stolen identities along with false and fraudulent wage and tax withholding information to prepare fraudulent federal income tax returns. After filing the false returns, Cunningham and Harris-Cunningham accepted and  negotiated reloadable debit cards that they knew contained fraudulently obtained income tax refunds.  

Ohio Woman Sentenced in Identity Theft and Tax Refund Scam
On September 16, 2013, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Bridgette Jones was sentenced to 61 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $477,490 in restitution to the IRS. In April 2013, Jones pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to submit false claims for federal income tax refunds with the IRS and to one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, between January 2011 and September 2012, Jones conspired with others to obtain false claims for income tax refunds from the IRS by electronically filing false 2010 and 2011 federal income tax returns claiming at least $654,550 in refunds that they knew they were not entitled. Jones’ primary role in the scheme was to prepare and submit false returns to the IRS using stolen identities. Co-conspirator Ellis Maurice Scott unlawfully obtained the individual names, dates of birth, and social security numbers used to prepare and file the false income tax returns. Jones and Scott kept lists of these individual’s identities to be used in filing false income tax returns for multiple income tax years. In April 2013, Ellis Scott pleaded guilty and currently awaits sentencing.

Californian Sentenced for Role in Fraudulent Refund Scheme
On September 16, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif., Kashawn Monique Savery was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,608,021 in restitution to the IRS. Savery pleaded guilty to ten counts of filing false claims against the United States. According to court documents, Savery conspired with others to file with the IRS false claims for refunds based upon fraudulent Earned Income Tax Credits and First Time Homebuyers Tax Credits. A co-conspirator provided personal identifying information of individuals, including names and Social Security numbers, from the computer system of the California Department of Public Services where the co-conspirator was employed. Savery would use the stolen personal identifying information to file false returns. The fraudulently obtained refunds would be deposited into bank accounts controlled by others in the scheme.

North Carolina Woman Sentenced for Preparing False Tax Returns and Identity Fraud
On September 12, 2013, in Greensboro, N.C., Leslie Louise Brewster, of Durham, N.C., was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $92,910 in restitution to the IRS. On February 20, 2013, Brewster pleaded guilty to preparation of false tax returns, aiding and assisting the preparation of a false tax return, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Brewster was the manager of a tax return preparation franchise. Brewster falsified federal income tax returns for hundreds of clients in order to obtain larger tax refunds for the clients than they were actually entitled to receive. The returns Brewster prepared for clients reported, among other items, false dependents, fictitious businesses and bogus education credits. Brewster also purchased personal identifying information, including names and Social Security numbers, from members of the community. Brewster used this personal identifying information to claim false dependents on tax returns she prepared for clients, and provided some of the identities she purchased to other return preparers for their use in a similar fashion. Two defendants in related cases were also sentenced to prison for tax crimes arising out of this scheme. Saichelle McNeill was sentenced to 27 months in prison on August 20, 2013. Tiffany Rogers was sentenced to 48 months in prison on August 14, 2013.

Ohio Man Sentenced in Identity Theft and Tax Refund Scam
On September 10, 2013, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dione Howard was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $30,129 in restitution to the IRS. On March 13, 2013, Howard pleaded guilty to conspiring to file false claims for federal income tax refunds with the IRS and unlawfully using a means of identification.  According to court documents, between January 2012 and April 2012, Howard purchased 18 names, social security numbers and dates of birth from a co-conspirator for $3,500. Howard used this information to prepare and electronically file at least nine false claims with the IRS for income tax refunds. Howard attempted to have the income tax refunds deposited on prepaid debit cards, but instead received the income tax refunds in the form of United States Treasury checks. Howard then provided the income tax refund checks to a co-conspirator to be cashed. Once cashed, Howard received a portion of each check, ranging anywhere from $600 to $1,600.

Illinois Woman Sentenced for Tax-Related Frauds
On September 6, 2013, in Springfield, Ill., Monica D. Nicholson, of Cairo, Ill., was sentenced to 105 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $283,688 in restitution. According to court documents, Nicholson was part of a scheme to help others get false refunds from the IRS by filing false tax returns for 2007 through 2011. Nicholson gathered others’ identifying information, claimed fraudulent dependents, and transmitted this information over the telephone to a tax return preparer located in Memphis, Tenn. As part of this conspiracy, the participants or those whose names appear as taxpayers on the fraudulent income tax returns were required to pay Nicholson between approximately $200 and $300 per tax return from the tax refund received. During the 2011 and 2012 tax filing seasons, approximately 50 federal income tax returns were filed claiming $406,228 in false refunds. Nicholson purchased dependents’ Social Security numbers from the guardians and/or parents of the dependents for filers who did not have legitimate dependents. The typical fee was $1,000 per Social Security number and this fee was paid from the fraudulent income tax refund received from the IRS.

Tax Preparer Sentenced for Preparing and Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns
On September 4, 2013, Tallahassee, Fla., Monique Yvette Kimble, of Midway, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and five years of supervised release for preparing and filing fraudulent tax returns and identity theft. From February through April 2009, on at least nine occasions, while she was acting as a certified tax preparer, Kimble prepared tax returns seeking fraudulent credits, which resulted in improper tax refunds. In addition, on at least two occasions, Kimble filed tax returns using stolen identity information from persons who did not authorize, nor realize, that Kimble had filed returns seeking tax refunds on their behalf.

Arizona Woman Sentenced for Role in Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On September 3, 2013, in Tucson, Ariz., Roshelle Davis was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $421,665 in restitution. Davis pleaded guilty on February 19, 2013, to conspiracy to defraud the government through false claims. According to court documents, beginning on August 27, 2010 and continuing until February 2, 2012, Davis and others prepared and filed at least 150 false income tax returns claiming at least $675,000 in false refund payments. For tax year 2009, Davis prepared and filed false income tax returns which contains names, social security numbers and dates of birth provided to her by another defendant. For the tax years 2010 and 2011, the income tax returns filed contained false wages and withholding amounts. Some of the individuals whose identifying information was used on the false claims for refund were inmates in state and local detention facilities. A total of 30 false claims amounting to $111,504 were deposited into a bank account controlled by Davis.

Alabama Woman Sentenced for Role in Identity Theft Tax Scheme
On September 3, 2013, in Montgomery, Ala., Angelique Djonret was sentenced to 24 months in prison for her involvement in a million dollar identity theft tax fraud scheme. Djonret pleaded guilty on April 19, 2013 to identity theft. According to court documents, between October 2009 and April 2012, Angelique Djonret’s sister, Antoinette Djonret, orchestrated a tax refund scheme using stolen identities to file over 1,000 false tax returns that fraudulently claimed over $1.7 million in tax refunds.  Antoinette Djonret obtained stolen identities from multiple sources, including Alabama state databases.  She also established an elaborate network for laundering the refund money.  Antoinette Djonret recruited her sister, Angelique, into the conspiracy, whose role was to obtain prepaid debit cards in her name and others’ names for purposes of receiving the fraudulent tax refunds. Angelique Djonret also assisted in the filing of false tax returns using stolen identities. Antoinette Djonret was in February 2013 sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Former Inmate Sentenced for False Tax Return Scheme
On August 27, 2013, in Tulsa, Okla., Donald Lee Grayson was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $14,226 in restitution. Grayson was charged with three counts of filing false 2008 federal tax refund claims in the names of three different fellow prison inmates. According to court documents, Grayson was a trustee serving in a state prison near Tulsa. As a trustee, he was able to gain access to bank account information of fellow inmates. He used a computer to electronically file false tax returns from his prison cell.

Florida Man Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On August 22, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Nael Dawud Sammour, of Pompano Beach, was sentenced to 139 months in prison and four years of supervised release. Sammour was convicted on two counts of aggravated identity theft and eight counts of theft of public money.  According to court documents, individuals used stolen identification information, including the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of unsuspecting taxpayers to file fraudulent tax returns claiming tax refunds to which they were not entitled. Thereafter, Sammour obtained many of these fraudulently obtained United States Treasury tax refund checks and transferred these checks, along with counterfeit driver’s licenses and social security cards, to undercover IRS agents posing as check cashers. In total, agents seized 75 fraudulently obtained United States Treasury tax refund checks totaling $750,369 from Sammour.  

Inmate Sentenced for Filing False Tax Refund Claims and Aggravated Identity Theft
On August 22, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska, Steven James McComb was sentenced to 84 months in prison, ordered to pay $110,698 in restitution and to forfeit $23,160. McComb pleaded guilty in June 2013 to conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court records, while McComb was incarcerated in a State correctional facility, he participated in a conspiracy to obtain tax refunds by filing fraudulent income tax returns. Between January 2010 and January 2012, McComb and co-conspirators prepared and submitted approximately 100 false tax returns claiming refunds of over $210,000. McComb obtained the names and social security numbers of individuals, many of whom were fellow inmates at State correctional facilities. He then provided that information to other co-conspirators outside of the prison system to prepare false individual income tax returns. McComb authorized the co-conspirators to retain a portion of the money from the refunds, and directed them to wire or mail the remainder of the refunds to other co-conspirators or to hold the money for him.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Aggravated Identity Theft
On August 21, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., Connie Lee, of Brooksville, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $11,131 in restitution to the IRS. As part of her sentence, the court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $10,671. Lee pleaded guilty on April 30, 2013 to theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, a fraudulent federal income tax return was filed in the name of Lee's son. She received the corresponding fraudulent tax refund check at her residence.  After bribing her grandson to steal her son's personal identification documents, Lee took her nephew to a local bank, where she presented her son's stolen identification to bank personnel and duped her nephew into impersonating her son in order to open a bank account. Lee then deposited the fraudulent tax refund check into the bank account and withdrew all of the funds for her own use. Lee also assisted another individual in cashing a fraudulent tax refund check at the same bank and was paid for her assistance in that scheme.

Alabama Man Sentenced for Aiding and Abetting Tax Refund Fraud
On August 20, 2013, in Montgomery, Ala., Robert Jerrell Bonner was sentenced to 27 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,198,063 in restitution to the IRS. Bonner pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting fraud in connection with access devices and aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, on March 18, 2011, Bonner, with the help of others, used a debit card, which had been issued in someone else’s name, at an ATM to receive in excess of $1,000. Bonner knew at the time of the transaction that the funds he was obtaining from the debit card had been generated from fraudulent tax returns that had been filed in the names of other people.  Furthermore, Bonner knew he was using the identity of an actual person without authority.  

Alabama Man Sentenced for Receiving Fraudulent Federal Refunds Into His Bank Account
On August 14, 2013, in Montgomery, Ala., Anton Miles was sentenced to 24 months in prison for his involvement in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme. Miles pleaded guilty on May 9, 2013, to one count of theft of government funds.  According to court documents, in January 2012, Miles opened a bank account under his name A and M Mobile Car Wash. Between January 2012 and March 2013, approximately 120 false federal income tax refunds that claimed approximately $164,526 were directed to Miles’ bank account. The tax refunds were generated through the filing of false tax returns that used stolen identities.

Alabama State Employee Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On August 14, 2013, in Montgomery, Ala., Chequila Motley was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay $179,946 in restitution to the IRS. Motley pleaded guilty in May 2013 to charges of conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Motley was a former state employee working for the Alabama State Employees’ Insurance Board. She stole the personal information of over 100 state workers and their families from the state databases and sold the information to her co-conspirators, Veronica Temple, Yolanda Moses and Barbara Murry. The co-conspirators used the stolen identities to file false tax returns that fraudulently requested tax refunds from the IRS. Temple, Moses and Murry were each sentenced in February 2013 to 57 months in prison.

Florida Man Sentenced on Tax Fraud Charges            
On August 12, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., James Earl Smiley was sentenced to 61 months in prison and ordered to pay a $98,719 forfeiture money judgment which represented the proceeds of the offense. Smiley pleaded guilty on March 6, 2013, to one count of theft of government property and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, in October 2012, Smiley was stopped by the Tampa Police Department. He had several Turbo Tax Visa debit cards and receipts in his possession. The debit cards were not in Smiley's name, or in the name of his passenger. Further investigation revealed that the debit cards were funded with fraudulent tax return proceeds. On numerous occasions, Smiley was captured on video surveillance using the fraudulent debit cards. He admitted that the cards contained proceeds from fraudulently filed tax returns. None of the victims whose names appeared on the debit cards had given Smiley the authority to use their identities.

Former Georgia Tax Return Preparers Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On August 8, 2013, in Albany, Ga., Sabrina Johnson-Lavant was sentenced to 18 months in prison and Chandra Henderson was sentenced to eight months in prison. Johnson-Lavant and Henderson, both former professional tax return preparers, were sentenced for conspiring, together with their employer, Greene Wylie Sheppard, to defraud the United States by filing false tax returns in order to receive fraudulently-inflated refunds for their clients.  According to court documents, Sheppard owned and operated Quick Tax, a tax preparation business in Cordele, Ga. He conspired with Johnson-Lavant and Henderson to obtain higher refunds on clients' returns by falsely inflating clients' wages in order to exploit certain tax credits. The co-conspirators sold other people's identifying information to their clients, and these other identities would then be claimed as dependents on their tax returns in order to manipulate the size of the refund. The three return preparers acquired dozens of identities by purchasing them. They maintained notebooks that kept track of the identities and how much clients owed them for the false dependents. Over the course of the conspiracy, which spanned four years, Quick Tax claimed over $400,000 in fraudulent refunds. Sheppard was sentenced to 56 months in prison on July 11, 2013.

Georgia Man Sentenced for Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns
On July 30, 2013, in Atlanta, Ga., Frederick Roberts was sentenced to 87 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $866,436 in restitution. Roberts pleaded guilty on March 8, 2013, to filing fraudulent federal and state tax returns and for stealing the identities of his victims. According to court documents, Roberts submitted tax returns in other people’s names seeking large refunds and had the checks sent to an address where he could retrieve the mail. He cashed the refund checks with unscrupulous check cashers, who were willing to accept the checks even though none of them were in Roberts’ name.

Woman Sentenced for Running Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
On July 30, 2013, in St. Louis, Mo., Tania Henderson, of Wesley Chapel, Fla., was sentenced to 144 months in prison and ordered to pay $835,883 in restitution to the IRS. Henderson pleaded guilty on April 29, 2013 to theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. According to her plea agreement and other court documents, Henderson stole the identities of more than 400 individuals, many of whom were deceased, and filed fraudulent tax returns using their names and social security account numbers. Between August and November 2012, Henderson filed 236 fraudulent tax returns. Using a network of family and friends, she would collect refund checks or prepaid debit cards for the refund amounts and liquidate the proceeds of her scheme.  

Hospital Employee and Accomplice Sentenced for Tax Refund Fraud
On July 29, 2013, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Shalamar Major, of Deerfield Beach, Fla., was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay in $15,795 in restitution to the IRS. Major was previously convicted of unauthorized HIPAA disclosures and conspiracy to commit false claims in connection with a tax refund scheme that used stolen social security and other personal identifying information to file on-line tax returns claiming fraudulent tax refunds. On July 22, 2013, co-defendant Tanisha Wright, of Deerfield Beach, Fla., was sentenced to 40 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $174,130 in restitution to the IRS. Wright previously pleaded guilty to three counts of identity theft, three counts of theft of public money, one count of access device fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of theft of mail and one count of conspiracy to commit false claims. According to court documents, from January through June 2012, Wright and Major possessed and used stolen personal identifying information of others to file federal income tax returns claiming tax refunds to which they were not entitled. Specifically, Major was employed as a scheduler at a hospital where she had access to personal identification information of patients. She provided the personal identification information to Wright in exchange for the promise of future payments. Wright used this information to electronically file fraudulent federal income tax returns without the knowledge or authorization of the victims and claimed refunds to which she was not entitled from the IRS.  Once Wright obtained cash from the fraudulent refunds, she would split the proceeds with Major.

Arizona Woman Sentenced for Role in Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On July 29, 2013, in Tucson, Ariz., Rosalyn Davis was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $421,665 in restitution, jointly with her co-defendants. Davis pleaded guilty on February 19, 2013 to conspiracy to defraud the government through false claims. According to court documents, beginning on August 27, 2010 and continuing until February 2, 2012, Davis and her co-defendants filed at least 150 false income tax returns claiming at least $675,000 in fraudulent refunds. Davis provided names, social security numbers and dates of birth to a co-defendant to file false tax returns. Some of the individuals whose identifying information Davis provided were inmates in state and local detention facilities. The false tax returns included fabricated information such as false employer information, wages and withholding amounts. Davis and her co-defendants had the tax refunds deposited into bank accounts held in their names and controlled by them.

Conspirator Sentenced in Bank Fraud and Identity Theft Schemes
On July 24, 2013, in Baltimore, Md., Derrick Elrod, of Philadelphia, Pa., was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years of supervised release. According to court documents, Elrod worked for a nonprofit social services organization headquartered in Philadelphia. He was an advisor at a residential program that supports individuals with mental health needs. In at least April 2010, Elrod became part of a bank fraud conspiracy led by Christopher Devine. Elrod used his position to steal the personal identifying information of past or present residents of the program. Elrod sold the personal information of at least 40 individuals who were residents of the programs to Devine. Over the course of the scheme, Devine and his conspirators used the stolen information of at least four residents to open checking accounts at banks, deposit fraudulent checks into those accounts and make cash advances and retail purchases from those accounts before the banks returned the checks for insufficient funds. Devine used the stolen personal information of program residents to file at least 13 false tax returns for the 2010 tax year. In all, the stolen personal information of 15 program residents was used in the bank fraud and tax schemes. Five co-conspirators were previously sentenced to the following terms:
• Christopher Andre Devine was sentenced to 121 months in prison,
• Quanishia Williamson-Ross was sentenced to 42 months in prison
• Quashonna Williamson  and Lenee E. Williamson were sentenced to 36 months in prison
• John Waters was sentenced to 27 months in prison

Former Manager of a National Tax Preparation Store Sentenced for Defrauding the IRS
On July 22, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif., Damon Charles Dubose, a former manager of a national tax preparation store, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison. Dubose pleaded guilty in March 2013 to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing false claims with the IRS. According to court documents, working as a manager of a national tax preparation store in Van Nuys. Dubose used his access to client records to obtain the personal identifying information, which included names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. Dubose then used this personal identifying information to create and submit to the IRS at least 12 false and unauthorized 2011 tax returns in order to generate fraudulent tax refunds of at least $48,593. Dubose filed the returns so that the refunds would be accessible by a pre-loaded Master Card. Dubose then used the Master Card at automated teller machines to withdraw as cash the fraudulent tax refunds. The wire fraud count stems from Dubose electronically transferring an unauthorized tax return from Van Nuys, Calif., to Tennessee or West Virginia. The false claim count stems from an unauthorized tax return filed by Dubose on February 6, 2012 for an individual using fabricated information to falsely claim a refund in the amount of $4,353.

Two Florida Residents Sentenced for Identity Theft Scheme
On July 19, 2013, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Nathaniel Troy Maye, aka Troy May, was sentenced to 66 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Tiwanna Tenise Thomason was sentenced to five years’ probation. Both Maye and Thomason pleaded guilty to one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, on January 5, 2013, a cooperating source (CS) met with Thomason and Maye. During the meeting, Maye told the CS that he had a large number of stolen identities on a flash drive, and discussed using the stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns and get refunds from those returns. On January 7, 2013, Maye gave the CS a flash drive containing 50 names, dates of birth, and accompanying social security numbers. On January 8, 2013, the IRS executed a search warrant at Thomason’s apartment. During the search, the IRS recovered numerous electronic storage devices, including computers and flash drives. On two of the flash drives, the IRS found the personal identifying information of thousands of individuals.

Louisiana Woman Sentenced for Identity Theft and Tax Refund Fraud
On July 18, 2013, in Baton Rouge, La., Angela Myers was sentenced to 132 months in for wire fraud, making false claims, subscribing to false tax returns and aggravated identity theft. Myers was also ordered to pay $202,685 in restitution to the IRS. She has already forfeited $39,030. Based on the evidence presented during a four-day trial in March 2013, Myers operated Angie’s Tax Service, a tax preparation business located in Baton Rouge. Myers electronically filed false claims for tax refunds using the names and Social Security numbers of identity theft victims. Many of the victims were nursing home patients. Myers filed the identity theft tax returns using a unique preparer identification number assigned to her daughter. In addition, Myers lied on her own 2007 and 2008 federal income tax returns. She failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax preparation fees that she earned at Angie’s Tax Service and used to buy various items, including an RV and a $50,000 investment product.

Three Sentenced in Family-Run Tax Fraud Scheme
On July 17, 2013, in Brownsville, Texas, three women were sentenced for conspiring to defraud the federal government in a scheme to prepare federal tax returns and cash refund checks in the name of deceased individuals. Judy Lynn McCune was sentenced to 57 months in prison, Loretta Ann McCune was sentenced to 20 months in prison and Rania Ann Sanchez was sentenced to 24 months in prison. In addition, all three will serve three years of supervised release and pay $223,098 in restitution to the IRS. The three women pleaded guilty in April 2013.  According to court documents, the defendants obtained Social Security numbers and birth dates of deceased individuals through the Internet and then filed both paper and electronic federal income tax returns using the identifiers. The refunds were directly deposited into their personal bank account or mailed to their personal addresses. The total scheme consisted of approximately 340 false returns totaling $763,124 in filed false claims.

Self-Proclaimed “First Lady” of Tax Fraud Sentenced
On July 16, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., Rashia Wilson, formerly of Wimauma, was sentenced to 234 months in prison and to a consecutive 18 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm, as well as ordered to forfeit $2,240,096. Wilson pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm on December 6, 2012. She pleaded guilty to the wire fraud and aggravated identity theft on April 3, 2013.  According to court documents, from at least April 2009 through their arrests in September 2012, Wilson and her co-conspirator, Maurice J. Larry, engaged in a scheme to defraud the IRS by negotiating fraudulently obtained tax refunds. They did so by receiving United States Treasury checks and pre-paid debit cards that were loaded with proceeds derived from filing false and fraudulent federal income tax returns in other persons' names, without those persons’ permission or knowledge. Wilson and Larry filed these false and fraudulent federal income tax returns from multiple locations, including Wilson's residence and hotels in the Tampa area. Wilson, Larry, and others then used these fraudulently obtained tax refunds to make hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of retail purchases, to purchase money orders, and to withdraw cash. Larry previously pleaded guilty to his participation in the scheme and is awaiting sentencing.

Former Security Guard Sentenced for Using Identifying Information from Nursing Home Residents in Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Scheme
On July 16, 2013, in Washington, D.C., Derek Johnson, of District Heights, Md., was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $435,764 in restitution to the IRS.  Johnson pleaded guilty in February 2013 to conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims, aiding and abetting in the making of false claims for refund and aiding and abetting in fraud and related activity involving identification information.  According to court documents, Johnson participated in a massive identity theft and false tax refund scheme involving an extensive network of more than 100 people. The refunds were sought in the names of people whose identities had been stolen, including the elderly, people in assisted living facilities, drug addicts and incarcerated prisoners. Johnson worked from August 2009 to January 2010 as a security guard at a nursing home in Northeast Washington. He provided identifying information about current and former nursing home residents to others in the conspiracy.  More than 150 fraudulent federal tax forms were filed in the names of these current and former residents with the IRS, claiming fraudulent tax refunds totaling about $404,832.

Miami Woman Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On July 15, 2013 Miami, Fla., Natoya Mashea Handy was sentenced to 51 months in prison and two years of supervised release for her participation in a tax refund scheme using stolen identities to convert government monies for her own use.  On April 12, 2013, Handy was convicted by a jury of one count of access device fraud and five counts of aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, on or about April 5, 2012, Handy was found with at least 15 social security numbers, names and dates of birth belonging to persons who were formerly or presently incarcerated by the state of Florida.  Fraudulent tax returns were filed for tax year 2011 for 17 of the individuals whose social security numbers Handy possessed.  Each of these fraudulent tax returns fraudulently claimed entitlement to a refund.

Florida Man Sentenced in Million Dollar Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On July 8, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Charlton Escarmant was sentenced to 94 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  Restitution will be determined at a later date. Escarmant was charged with co-defendant Arthy Icart for their participation in an identity theft tax refund scheme. On March 19, 2013, a jury convicted Escarmant of one count of conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS, one count of access device fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, some of the personal identification information used by Escarmant and Icart to file fraudulent tax returns was stolen from a community college’s financial aid office. In fact, more than 3,200 names found on a computer in Escarmant’s possession came from the community college. Escarmant filed tax returns using the stolen identification information and also in his own name and created false W-2 forms with fictitious employer information.  At the time of their arrest, Escarmant and Icart unlawfully possessed approximately 22 pre-paid tax debit cards in the names of other individuals. In total, during the course of the scheme, Escarmant and Icart submitted approximately 400 fraudulent tax returns to the IRS, seeking more than $3.3 million in tax refunds. Icart was sentenced on April 5, 2013, to 70 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,387,774 in restitution.

Florida Man Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On July 2, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Fednol Pierre, of West Palm Beach, was sentenced to 34 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $83,450 in restitution to the victims of his offenses. Pierre previously pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government money and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, on September 29, 2009, Pierre added an individual as a joint account holder to his bank account, without this individual’s knowledge or consent, using this individual’s name, Social Security number, date of birth, and driver’s license number. The following day, Pierre deposited a $22,081 tax refund check from the United States Treasury in the name of this individual. In the weeks following this deposit, Pierre withdrew funds from the joint account. On December 3, 2009, Pierre closed the joint account and transferred the remaining funds into his account.

Four Floridians Sentenced in Fraudulent Prisoner Income Tax Refund Scheme
On July 2, 2013, in Pensacola, Fla., the final co-conspirators of a prisoner income tax refund scheme were sentenced.  William Scott Folk and Christopher Jesse Lee both currently incarcerated with the Florida Department of Corrections, Cora Beard of Morriston, and Gail Anita Moss of Miami Gardens were all sentenced on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.  Beard and Moss were also sentenced as a result of additional counts of filing false claims against the government, theft from the government and aggravated identity theft.  The defendants were sentenced as follows:
• Christopher Jesse Lee - 120 months in prison to run consecutively to the state of Florida sentence he is now serving and ordered to pay $435,130 in restitution to the IRS.
• Cora Beard - 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $580,884 in restitution to the IRS.
• Gail Anita Moss - 25 months in prison and ordered to pay $156,410 in restitution to the IRS.
• William Scott Folk - 120 months in prison and ordered to pay $580,884 in restitution to the IRS.
All four defendants pleaded guilty in March 2013 admitting that beginning around January 2006, they and others filed fraudulent tax returns using the names and social security numbers of inmates housed in the Florida Department of Corrections, and on occasion using the identities of other individuals who were not incarcerated.  As part of this scheme, Beard and Moss used their home addresses as well as the home addresses of previously indicted co-conspirators and others so fraudulent IRS refund checks would be mailed to them. During the course of the scheme, the defendants and others filed and caused to be filed approximately 344 false and fraudulent federal income tax returns, which falsely claimed approximately $1,656,721 in false, fictitious, and fraudulent refunds from the United States.

Final Defendant Sentenced in Puerto Rican Identity Theft Ring
On June 28, 2013, in Sherman, Texas, Luigi Montes was sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay $50,381 in restitution  to the IRS. Montes pleaded guilty in July 2012 to conspiracy to submit false statements to the U.S. Postal Service and false claims to the IRS.  According to court documents, Montes and his co-conspirators used false identities to obtain private mail boxes (PMBs) in East Texas and elsewhere. They also prepared false tax returns in the names of Puerto Rican citizens who had not authorized the tax returns listing the PMBs as locations for the fraudulent tax refund checks to be mailed. Five other defendants in the case have previously been sentenced to terms ranging from 15 months to five months in prison.

Three Miami Men Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On June 27, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Lineten Belizaire, Earnest Baldwin and Earl Baldwin were sentenced for their role in a $1.7 million identity theft tax refund fraud scheme. Belizaire was sentenced to 129 months in prison and three years of supervised release; Earnest Baldwin was sentenced to 172 months in prison and four years of supervised release; and Earl Baldwin was sentenced to 84 months in prison and four years of supervised release. According to court documents, Belizaire, Earnest and Earl Baldwin and Marckell Steward were involved in an identity theft tax fraud scheme that operated from July 2011 through June 2012. During the course of their fraud scheme, they submitted approximately $1.7 million in fraudulent refund claims to the IRS for payment. Belizaire conspired with Steward and the Baldwins to use stolen personal identification information of others to file fraudulent and unauthorized tax returns claiming refunds on debit cards. Earnest Baldwin possessed more than 1,000 names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers and approximately 40 pre-paid debit cards in other people’s names. Among the papers seized were high school report cards with identity information and data from an organization for disabled persons containing identity information. According to plea documents, more than 80 fraudulent tax returns using stolen identifications were electronically filed. Marckell Steward was sentenced on April 17, 2013 to 72 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

Miami Man Sentenced for Role in Identity Theft Scheme
On June 26, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Muller Pierre, of North Miami Beach, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution jointly with his co-defendants. Pierre pleaded guilty in February 2013 to one count of wire fraud. According to court documents, from in or around early 2010, through in or around late 2010, Pierre was involved in a scheme to file fraudulent and unauthorized tax returns seeking refunds. Pierre opened several bank accounts to receive over $600,000 in fraudulent tax refunds in the names of dead people. In addition, there was over $1.7 million deposited indirectly into Pierre's bank account from co-conspirators' accounts.

Florida Resident Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme
On June 26, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Braxton Geovanni Bell, of Miami Gardens, Fla., was sentenced to 34 months in prison and three years of supervised release. On February 7, 2013, Bell was convicted at trial of one count of access device fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. On April 16, 2013, Bell pleaded guilty in a separate criminal case to one count of access device fraud. According to court documents, Bell used the names and social security account numbers of unwitting victims to submit fraudulent tax returns to the IRS. Based on these fraudulent returns, Bell obtained tax refunds on prepaid debit cards, and then used the money to purchase luxury items.

Georgia Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On June 25, 2013, in Macon, Ga., Maurice Hester, of Milledgeville, Ga., was sentenced to 64 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $32,129 in restitution. On April 8, 2013, Hester pleaded guilty to filing false claims against the government, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and theft of government property. According to court documents, Hester filed false income tax returns and fraudulent claims for refunds including one claim for a fraudulent refund of over $600,000. Hester filed false tax returns in his own name and in the name of another without the other individual’s authorization or knowledge. Hester directed the fraudulent refunds to either his address or, through direct deposit, into a bank account Hester controlled. Income verification documents showed that Hester reported false wages and federal tax withholding on his personal income tax return and the returns were completely false other than his personal data.

Florida Resident Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme Involving Patient Information
On June 24, 2013 in Miami, Fla., Cristobal Raul Puig was sentenced to 31 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Puig pleaded guilty to one count of possessing 15 or more social security numbers of other persons, with corresponding names and dates of birth, and one count of knowingly using, without lawful authority, the means of identification of another person. According to court documents, an employee of a health system sold the names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and addresses of hospital patients to Puig. Puig then used the stolen patient identification information to file unauthorized income tax returns. At the time of his arrest, Puig was in possession of a list containing the names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and addresses of 20 recent hospital patients.

Tax Preparer Sentenced for Preparing False Returns and Identity Theft
On June 14, 2013 in Montgomery, Ala., Gwendolyn Davis was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $41,800 in restitution to the IRS. Davis pleaded guilty in February 2013 to filing false claims and identity theft. According to court documents, Davis owned and ran a tax preparation business in Montgomery, Ala., since 2008. Davis admitted that while working there she prepared and electronically filed two false 2008 federal income tax returns and seven false 2010 federal income tax returns, using the identification of actual individuals, without their knowledge or permission. The false tax returns directed refunds to either be deposited onto debit cards or issued as refund anticipation loans through a third-party financial institution. Davis used the proceeds for herself.

Former Florida Hospital Employees Sentenced in Tax Refund Scheme
On June 13, 2013, in Tallahassee, Fla., Spencer Larry Parson and Amber Sasha-Rashawn Simmons, both of Tampa, were each sentenced  to 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $283,591 in restitution to the IRS.  Both pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States in the filing of false tax returns, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, between 2011 and 2012, Parson and Simmons prepared and filed fraudulent returns seeking more than $818,000 in tax refunds. Parson and Simmons created the fraudulent returns using taxpayer identification numbers and other personal identifying information stolen from both living and deceased individuals, who were patients of a Florida hospital. Parson was a former employee of the hospital.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Identity Theft
On June 12, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Josue Faustin was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $43,591 in restitution for engaging in a fraud scheme using stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns. According to court documents, the tax returns falsely claimed refunds and requested that the refunds be direct-deposited onto debit card accounts which Faustin had opened in the names of unwitting identity theft victims. Faustin subsequently went to various ATM machines and withdrew funds from the debit card accounts. After being pulled over for a traffic stop, Faustin was found in possession of bundles of cash totaling $5,881, three cell phones, 15 debit cards loaded with approximately $30,000 from tax refunds, and four newly purchased debit cards.    

Texas Man Sentenced for Using Identities of Deceased Person to Claim Tax Refunds
On June 7, 2013, in Dallas, Texas, Jason Cano was sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay $447,830 in restitution for filing a false tax return and identity theft. According to court documents, beginning in 2008 and continuing through February 2011, Cano prepared and filed at least 497 fraudulent federal income tax returns, claiming $883,427 in refunds, by using the names and social security numbers of deceased individuals. Cano fabricated a Form W-2 for each return that contained a fictitious amount of paid wages and tax withholding. Cano requested that the refund be deposited onto reloadable prepaid debit cards that Cano had acquired.  After the refunds were loaded, Cano would use the cards for his own use or provide them to friends and associates for their use.

New York Man Sentenced on Identity Theft Charges
On June 6, 2013 in Manhattan, N.Y., Freddy Javier-Enriquez was sentenced to 30 months in prison. According to court documents, Javier-Enriquez and another individual were indicted for conspiracy, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft in June 2012.  Both were in possession of Treasury checks worth more than $57,000 that were payable to other people, bank receipts reflecting deposits of more than $60,000 in Treasury checks payable to other people, ledgers containing hundreds of names, social security numbers and tax return refund amounts and pre-printed mailing labels addressed to the Internal Revenue Service.  At the time of his arrest, Javier-Enriquez admitted that he worked as a check-cashing “broker” and regularly cashed Treasury checks representing fraudulently obtained tax return refunds.

Florida Man Sentenced in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme
On June 6, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Johnny Alexander Melo, of Miramar, Fla., was sentenced to 60 months in prison and one year of supervised release for his participation in an identity theft tax refund scheme. Melo was also ordered to pay $18,594 in restitution to the IRS.  Melo pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to use a false identification document, one count of possession of five or more identification documents, one count of theft of government funds and one count of aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, Melo and his co-conspirators stole personal identification information and used the stolen information to file false tax returns in the identities of at least 22 individuals. The U.S. Treasury issued tax refund checks in the names of those individuals. Melo then attempted to cash these fraudulently obtained tax refund checks by using false driver’s licenses in the names of the stolen identities.  

Florida Man Sentenced in $12 Million Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On June 5, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Jesus Calvo, of Cutler Bay, was sentenced to 58 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $9.2 million in restitution to the IRS for his role in an identity theft tax refund fraud scheme. In addition, Calvo agreed to forfeit two houses, five cars, three bank accounts, high-end watches, jewelry and cash. These assets had an estimated value of approximately $2 million. According to court documents, Calvo operated a check cashing store called J&S Taxes in Perrine, Florida.  Beginning in or around February 2012, and continuing through in or around June 2012, Calvo cashed approximately $12 million of fraudulently obtained United States Department of Treasury income tax refund checks that were brought by co-conspirators. Calvo knew that the checks had been obtained by fraud and without authorization of the true taxpayer. He received more than the standard fee for cashing the checks because the tax-refund checks had been obtained by fraud. Calvo used this money for his own personal expenditures.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On June 4, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., Nikia Williams was sentenced to 66 months in prison and ordered to forfeit jewelry valued at more than $110,000 and a 2007 Mercedes Benz, which she purchased using $30,000 in cash. Williams pleaded guilty on February 27, 2013 to theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Williams engaged in stolen identity tax refund fraud from as early as January 2011.  In excess of 150 fraudulent tax returns were electronically filed from her residence during this period.  Williams was linked to additional tax returns based on her use of debit cards containing fraudulently obtained tax refunds.

Georgia Man Sentenced for His Role in Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On May 29, 2013, in Statesboro, Ga., Robbie Reason was sentenced to 90 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $135,504 in restitution to the IRS.  According to court documents, Reason and his co-conspirators participated in a scheme to obtain, or help others to obtain, payment of false claims for refunds from the IRS by filing false 2006 and 2007 federal income tax returns claiming refunds to which they knew they were not entitled to receive. The conspirators obtained personal identifying information from recruited individuals and others without consent. The conspirators used these identifiers to create false Forms W-2 and false 2006 and 2007 federal income tax returns, which were filed with the IRS. The conspirators provided addresses for the IRS refund checks to be mailed, forged endorsements on the IRS checks, negotiated the cashing of the checks, and distributed the funds. The conspirators distributed and kept part of the proceeds.

Florida Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On May 29, 2013, in Tallahassee, Fla., Kraig Antonio Davis, of Tampa, Florida, was sentenced to 42 months in prison for tax fraud, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft.  Davis was also ordered to pay $77,081 in restitution to the IRS.  According to court documents, Davis was involved in a scheme to use the personal identifying information of individuals, including their names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, to submit fraudulent income tax returns to the IRS. Davis conducted online searches to locate deceased victims’ personal information, which he used to file the false income tax returns. He then used victims’ information to obtain prepaid debit cards for the deposit of the fraudulently obtained refunds. He caused more than a dozen fraudulent refunds to be issued, resulting in a loss of approximately $77,081 to the IRS.  Davis also filed a false income tax return in his own name resulting in a tax refund of $4,975.

Oklahoma Man Sentenced for Aggravated Identity Theft
On May 28, 2013, in Oklahoma City, Okla., Daniel Wayne Ausmus was sentenced to 78 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $45,972 in restitution to victims.  Ausmus pleaded guilty to a three-count information charging him with aggravated identity theft, mail fraud, and submitting false claims to the United States.  According to court documents, starting in November 2009, Ausmus used various sources, including the internet, to obtain personal information of over 100 individuals including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. Ausmus used the personal information to file false claims for tax refunds for both state and federal tax refunds. In addition, Ausmus then used the information to fraudulently apply online for prepaid debit cards. He had the cards mailed to vacant houses near his residence where he would retrieve them after delivery by the Postal Service.

Tax Preparer Sentenced in Elaborate Fraud Case Involving Stolen Identities and Bogus Tax Returns
On May 22, 2013, in San Diego, Calif., Neil Thomsen was sentenced to 180 months in prison and ordered to pay $515,000 in restitution. Thomsen was convicted by a jury in December 2011 of 32 counts of mail fraud, Social Security fraud, passport card fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to evidence presented at trial, Thomsen used 292 stolen identities in a two-year crime spree to defrauded the IRS. Thomsen, a tax preparer, electronically filed false and fraudulent 2008 individual tax returns between January and March 2009 using the stolen identities of his former clients, clients of his former employers, and his former co-workers. In June 2009, Thomsen fled the United States and moved to Mexico to avoid capture. In 2010, Thomsen devised another plan to defraud taxpayers and the IRS. Thomsen and his co-conspirators submitted false tax returns seeking tax refunds totaling more than $500,000. The evidence showed to execute his scheme, Thomsen used his IRS electronic filing number to set up accounts with two banks in order to facilitate the receipt of tax preparation fees and tax refunds. The banks then mailed refund checks and debit cards to Thomsen. Thomsen deposited refund checks into his bank accounts and cashed debit cards at multiple ATM machines throughout Southern California. Thomsen had several false identification documents in his possession in the names of other persons on June 17, 2010, when he was arrested attempting to enter the United States from Mexico.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On May 9, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., Rhonda Yvette Brooks was sentenced to 42 months in prison and ordered to pay $23,096 in restitution. Brooks pleaded guilty on February 20, 2013 to charges of tax fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Brooks submitted fraudulent tax returns electronically from her residence totaling more than $70,000. She submitted tax returns for several fictitious identities provided by the IRS in an undercover operation.

Florida Man Sentenced for Stealing Government Money in Tax Fraud Scheme
On May 9, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., Larry Lee Northern, Jr. was sentenced to 32 months in prison for theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. Northern pleaded guilty on January 19, 2013. According to court documents, on October 6, 2011, Northern was stopped by law enforcement for excessive speeding. During the stop, he was found to be in possession of illegal narcotics, various prepaid debit cards, store money cards, internal corporate documents from a local healthcare company and $15,700 in cash. The documents contained the personal identification information of numerous individuals. Subsequent investigation determined that 12 of the prepaid debit cards were credited with fraudulently filed income tax refunds. In addition, nine of the store money cards were credited with proceeds of fraudulently filed income tax returns.  

Illinois Tax Return Preparers Sentenced for Filing False Income Tax Returns
On May 8, 2013, in Chicago, Ill., Robtrel I. White was sentenced to 74 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,210,874 in restitution to the IRS. On May 9, 2013, Leslie Williams-Ogletree was sentenced to 51 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $653,073 in restitution to the IRS. White pleaded guilty on May 16, 2012 and Williams-Ogletree was convicted in January 2013 of filing false income taxes. According to court documents, in or around late 2005, White agreed with Williams-Ogletree and another co-defendant to submit false and fraudulent income tax returns to the IRS. At the time, Williams-Ogletree operated a tax preparation business called LKJ Tax and Financial Service and filed individual income tax returns electronically. White and the other co-defendant obtained personal identifying information for individuals who were not expected to otherwise file a tax return with the IRS for the 2005 tax year. LKJ electronically file about 200 false and fraudulent tax returns between approximately February 2006 and October 2006 for the 2005 tax year. The proceeds from the fraudulent returns were obtained in the form of a tax refund anticipation loan check. White would negotiate the refund checks by either meeting with the individual whose name was on the check and accompanying that individual to a currency exchange to cash the check or by depositing the refund into a bank account he controlled. Prior to the filing season for the 2006 tax year, White and other co-conspirators expanded the tax refund scheme by obtaining Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EIFN) from the IRS for entities he set up purported to be legitimate tax preparation businesses. White also opened up a storefront business called Tax Pro. Each of the tax preparation entities established an arrangement with a financial institution that offered refund anticipation loan. White then hired others skilled in the filing of federal tax returns to work at his businesses. Members of the conspiracy began obtaining the personal identifying information of multiple individuals for the purpose of filing fraudulent income tax returns through White’s businesses. The IRS estimated that approximately 1,386 fraudulent returns were filed between 2005 and 2007.

Colorado Man Sentenced for Role in Identity Theft Scheme
On May 8, 2013, in Denver, Colo., Thomas William Quintin was sentenced to 63 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $626,451 in restitution to the IRS. Quintin pleaded guilty on January 3, 2013, to conspiracy to defraud the United States.  According to court documents, from July 2009 through October 2009, Quintin conspired with others to submit to the IRS thousands of false federal individual income tax returns claiming a total of $1,834,011 in refunds in the names of deceased individuals. As part of the scheme, the conspirators established, controlled, and operated a Colorado entity known as Total Tax Services and/or Total Tax and Accounting (TTS), which maintained an office location in Englewood, Colo. Quintin and his co-conspirator obtained from an online database the names, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers and other identifying information of deceased individuals which they then used to prepare and file tax returns in their names. They also obtained employer identification numbers (EINs) for various businesses. They falsely claimed that the deceased individuals worked at those businesses during 2008, earned income and had taxes withheld. This allowed Quintin to claim refunds based on that false income tax withholding.

Two Men Sentenced for Identity Theft and Tax Refund Fraud Conspiracy
On May 8, 2013, in Pensacola, Fla., Victor T. Williams, of Tampa, Fla., was sentenced to 42 months in prison and Kenneth R. Faison, of Foley, Ala., was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Williams and Faison were also ordered to pay more than $220,000 in restitution. Both defendants previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government, four counts of theft of public money, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, between November 2011 and November 2012, Williams fraudulently obtained tax refund checks in the Tampa area and sent them to Faison, who deposited and cashed the checks in banks in northwest Florida and southern Alabama. Faison used accounts in the name of a church where he served as pastor to convert the checks. Once Faison had deposited the checks, he kept a percentage of the stolen funds for himself and transferred the remainder to Williams. Faison and Williams also committed identity fraud to convert the checks in at least two instances, including using identifying information stolen from a victim taxpayer in order to add that taxpayer as signatory to Faison’s bank account so he could deposit a check.

California Resident Sentenced for Tax and Identity Fraud Scheme
On May 7, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif., Grover Lucano, of Bloomington, Calif., was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution to the IRS. In January 2011, Lucano pleaded guilty to six counts related to his scheme to use the identities of others to file false tax returns claiming $1.5 million in false refunds. According to court documents, Lucano used the identity of others to file five false income tax returns claiming refunds in the amount of $3,793 to $7,562 for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 tax years. The taxpayers whose identities were used did not authorize the filing of the tax returns and were not entitled to an income tax refund based upon the false income, child care, and recovery rebate tax credits claimed on the returns. Lucano further possessed without lawful authority the identity of another individual, including the name, date of birth and social security number used in the filing of a false return.

Internet Installer Sentenced for Hijacking Customer’s Internet to Perpetrate Identity Theft Tax Scheme
On May 7, 2013, in Montgomery, Ala., Corey Thompson was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his involvement in a sophisticated stolen identity refund fraud conspiracy. In July 2012, Thompson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to file false claims and to one count of aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, in January 2012, Thompson and his co-conspirators filed at least 27 fraudulent 2011 tax returns that requested a total of $91,304 in refunds. Thompson and his co-conspirators obtained the means of identification from a prison guard and from an employee at a debt collection agency. In 2011 and 2012, Thompson worked as an independent contractor for a cable company. As an independent contractor, Thompson installed cable and internet access. To perpetrate the conspiracy, Thompson hijacked the internet service of customers for whom he had performed work. From his home, Thompson used his laptop and his specialized knowledge and equipment to essentially shut down the customer’s internet and then take over that customer’s internet. Thompson would then file false tax returns using the hijacked internet which made it appear as if the false tax returns were being filed by the customer. Thompson directed the tax refunds to be placed on pre-paid debit cards.

California Man Sentenced in Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme
On April 29, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif., Chibueze Chidozie Nwafor was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $118,474 in restitution to the IRS. Nwafor pleaded guilty in January 2013 to presenting false claims to the United States, theft of government benefits, and aggravated identity theft. According to the plea agreement, Nwafor used the names and social security numbers of other individuals to submit false tax returns. Nwafor knew the information in the tax returns that he filed contained materially false information, including taxes withheld and wages received from a bogus corporation, California Mutual Life and Health (CMLH).  In 2009, Nwafor prepared tax returns for various individuals including a 2008 federal income tax return in the name of an unidentified victim claiming a tax refund of $7,773. Similar to other tax returns filed by Nwafor, this federal income tax return included a Form W-2 which falsely claimed that the unidentified victim received $30,119 in wages from CMLH.  

Two Sentenced in Identity Theft Scam
On April 29, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif., Thomas Marshall was sentenced to 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,245,637 in restitution to the IRS. Co-defendant Mao Niko was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $285,101 to the IRS. Both defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS. Marshall, Niko and three others defendants were involved in a scheme using stolen identities to file false tax returns seeking thousands of dollars in refunds. The fraudulent returns claimed the First Time Homebuyers Credit and/or Earned Income Tax Credit even though the individuals whose identities were used did not authorize or know about the filings.  

South Florida Women Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On April 25, 2013, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Alci Bonannee, of Fort Lauderdale, and Sonyini Clay, of Miami Gardens, were sentenced for their roles in an identity theft tax refund fraud scheme. Bonannee was sentenced to 317 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,908,182 in restitution to the IRS. Clay was sentenced to 121 months in prison and three years of supervised release. On January 28, 2013, Bonannnee was convicted at trial of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to false claims, filing false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.  On January 13, 2013, Clay pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to false claims and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Bonannee, Clay and co-defendant, Chante Mozley, engaged in a large-scale identity theft tax fraud scheme that operated from December 2010 through June 2012. During the course of the scheme, there were approximately 2,000 fraudulent tax returns submitted to the IRS seeking $11 million in refunds. Bonannee filed a majority of the fraudulent tax returns from her house and other locations using compromised personal identification information obtained from a nurse at a local hospital. Clay filed several hundred fraudulent tax returns from her house and other locations. Mozley was sentenced on March 29, 2013 to 42 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,908,182 in restitution.

Alabama Man Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On April 24, 2013, in Montgomery, Ala., Kenneth Jerome Blackmon, Jr., of Montgomery, Ala., was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $197,839 in restitution. Blackmon pleaded guilty in January 2013 to aggravated identity theft and access device fraud. According to court documents, Blackmon used stolen identities to file false federal income tax returns with the IRS. He acquired names and Social Security numbers and used that identity information on false tax returns. He then directed fraudulent tax refunds onto debit cards. Blackmon also admitted to possessing at least 15 Social Security numbers to obtain fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS.

Florida Man Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On April 17, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Marckell Steward was sentenced to 72 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a later date. Steward previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents and court testimony, Steward along with co-conspirators Lineten Belizaire, Earnest Baldwin and Earl Baldwin, all of Miami, were involved in an identity theft tax fraud scheme that operated from July 2011 through June 2012.  During the course of their fraud scheme, approximately $1.7 million in fraudulent refund claims were submitted to the IRS for payment. Steward and the co-conspirators used stolen personal identification information of others to file fraudulent and unauthorized tax returns claiming refunds on debit cards. Some of the refund claims were filed from Earl Baldwin's residence. According to the factual proffer, Steward exchanged text messages with Belizaire where the defendant sent and received personal identification information of victims and also sent and received debit card account numbers that were used for receiving victims’ tax refunds. Earnest Baldwin was found with over 1,000 individual names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers and approximately 40 pre-paid debit cards in other people’s names. Some of these papers seized included high school report cards with identity information and data from an organization for disabled persons containing identity information. The evidence at trial also showed that Earnest and Earl Baldwin withdrew money from debit cards loaded with fraudulent refunds in the names of victims in the papers and notebooks found on Earnest Baldwin. The remaining co-conspirators are awaiting sentencing.

Louisiana Woman Sentenced for First Time Homebuyer Credit Tax Scheme
On April 18, 2013, in Baton Rouge, La., Brenda Matthews was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $117,656 in restitution. Matthews pleaded guilty on October 25, 2012 to making false claims to an agency of the United States and two counts of identity theft.  According to court documents, in July and August 2009, Matthews filed 20 tax returns for tax year 2008 fraudulently claiming refunds based on First Time Homebuyer Credits. The returns prepared by Matthews listed the names and Social Security numbers of others who had allegedly purchased homes, when in fact; the homes had not been purchased. In some instances, she used the Social Security numbers of people who did not know their identities were being used to file fraudulent tax returns.

Florida Men Sentenced in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme
On April 16, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Frandy Prophete was sentenced to 61 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,849,168 in restitution. On April 10, 2013, Frantz Charles was sentenced to 61 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,648,286 in restitution. Both defendants previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file false and fraudulent claims and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, Prophete and Charles were charged in a multi-count indictment together with other co-conspirators for participating in an identity theft tax refund scheme involving the use of the identities of over 900 deceased individuals to file fraudulent income tax returns. The tax refunds generated from the filing of these fraudulent returns were, in turn, deposited into bank accounts controlled by the co-conspirators.

Tax Preparer Sentenced for Murder-for-Hire, Witness Tampering, Filing False Tax Returns, Identity Theft, Money Laundering and Fraud
On April 12, 2013, in San Diego, Calif., former IRS agent-turned-tax preparer Steven Martinez was sentenced 286 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $14 million in restitution to the victims, the IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board. In addition, Martinez was ordered to forfeit real and personal property, including an $11 million money judgment. Martinez pleaded guilty on August 10, 2012, to criminal charges including murder-for-hire, witness tampering involving attempted murder, solicitation of a crime of violence, mail fraud, filing false tax returns, Social Security fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. As part of his guilty plea, Martinez admitted that in late February 2012, he solicited a third party to murder four witnesses with the intent to prevent their testimony in his pending criminal tax case. Martinez filed false tax returns and defrauded clients by stealing over $11 million in tax payments. He presented his clients with completed tax returns indicating that they owed a significant amount of tax. He requested that his clients write checks payable for the amount of taxes due and owing to an alleged client trust account (instead of directly to the IRS or the California Franchise Tax Board). Martinez also convinced these same clients to write checks during the tax year for estimated tax payments to the same alleged client trust accounts. Rather than deposit these checks into a true trust account, Martinez took the checks and deposited them into several nominee bank accounts. In an attempt to conceal his fraud, Martinez filed a different set of false tax returns indicating that his clients owed little or no income tax. Martinez converted approximately $11 million in stolen taxpayer funds for his own personal benefit. As part of his fraudulent tax scheme, Martinez committed Social Security fraud and aggravated identity theft by using the Social Security numbers of his clients without authorization when he filed the false tax returns with the IRS. He also laundered approximately $2 million through nominee bank accounts for his own business and personal use. Finally, Martinez filed false personal income tax returns for tax years 2004 through 2007.

Leader of Romanian-Based Tax Fraud Conspiracy Sentenced
On April 12, 2013, in Chicago, Ill., Ovidiu Isac, of Skokie, Ill., was sentenced to 85 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,641,209 in restitution. He will be subject to deportation after completing his sentence. Isac pleaded guilty in January 2013 to conspiracy to defraud the United States and theft of government funds. According to court documents, Isac oversaw and directed nearly two dozen co-defendants to use their bank accounts to receive false tax refunds in the names of Romanian citizens who had visited the United States on exchange or student visas. At least 470 false tax returns, claiming between $4,000 and $7,000, were filed between tax years 2007 and 2009. Of the 24 defendants indicted in this conspiracy, 19 have been convicted and sentenced, while five remain fugitives.

Man Sentenced for Involvement in Tax Refund Scheme
On April 12, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pa., Howard Chilsom was sentenced to 16 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $67,952 in restitution to the IRS. Chilsmon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make false claims to the United States.  According to court documents, from February 2007 to April 2012, Chilsom, with the help of others, filed numerous false federal income tax returns. Chilsmon and his co-conspirators directly obtained personal identifying information, including name and social security number, of other “taxpayers” for the purpose of filing false, fraudulent, and fictitious federal income tax returns.  Also, in 2007, with the help of a co-conspirator, Chilsom filed a false tax return claiming a $1,379 Telephone Excise Tax Refund (TETR).

Husband and Wife Sentenced in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme  
On April 11, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Douglas Michael Young, aka Douglas Pierre, and his wife, Nicole Young, aka Nicole Pierre, aka Nicole Pierre Smith, both of Miramar, were sentenced for their participation in a stolen identity tax refund scheme.  Douglas Young was sentenced to 61 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  Nicole Young was sentenced to 54 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  In addition, the Youngs were ordered to pay $849,052 in restitution. The Youngs previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to steal government property, one count of theft of government property, and one count of aggravated identity theft.  On October 5, 2011, six defendants were charged in a nine-count indictment for their participation in a tax refund scheme that resulted in the submission of approximately $1,207,389 in fraudulent claims for refunds using the personal identification information of unknowing victims.  In addition to Douglas and Nicole Young, the indictment charged Jeffrey Andre Young, Jr. and Ernest V. Charles, both of Miami, and Joseph Bshara and Siham Benabdallah, both of Miami Shores, Fla.  According to court documents, the Youngs owned and operated two tax preparation companies. As part of the scheme, the Youngs charged unknowing victims a “fee” for their purported tax preparation services. The Youngs would deduct the “fee” from any tax refunds and would deposit the “fee” into bank accounts they controlled. The remainder of the refunds would be converted into personal checks that would be deposited into bank accounts controlled by the co-defendants. On April 9, 2013, Jeffrey Andre Young, Jr was sentenced to 34 months in prison and three years of supervised release. On April 9, 2013, Siham Benabdallah, was sentenced to time served and three years of supervised release. Joseph Bshara awaits sentencing and Ernest Charles remains at large.

Florida Man Sentenced in $1.6 Million Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme
On April 10, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Frantz Charles was sentenced to 61 months in prison, four years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1.648 million in restitution. Charles previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to file false and fraudulent claims and another count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Charles was charged in a multi-count indictment along with other co-conspirators for participating in an identity theft tax refund scheme involving the use of the identities of over 900 deceased individuals to file fraudulent income tax returns.  The tax refunds generated from the filing of these fraudulent returns were, in turn, deposited into bank accounts controlled by the defendant and other co-conspirators.

Washington Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On April 8, 2013, in Tacoma, Wash., Richard Shane Wright was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $71,885 in restitution for conspiracy to defraud the government. Wright is one of four people indicted for fraudulently claiming more than $145,000 in tax refunds using the names and Social Security numbers of inmates at the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla. According to court documents, Wright joined the scheme in late March 2009, which was responsible for filing at least 31 fraudulent tax returns for tax years 2007 and 2008. The alleged leader of the conspiracy, Kenneth Randle Door provided the names and Social Security numbers of his fellow inmates and Wright and others used them to create and file fake W-2 forms and federal income tax returns, all claiming tax refunds due. In order to fabricate employment and wage data, the conspirators identified companies that had declared bankruptcy and had recently closed. Wright created fake W-2 forms indicating wages paid and taxes withheld from the individuals whose identities they used. The refunds were typically directed to one of several bank accounts controlled by Wright or another associate. Co-conspirators Lucy Anne Hyder, aka Lucy Bailey, was sentenced in February 2013 to eight months in prison, and Ruth Louise Branstetter, aka Ruth Bishop, was sentenced in March 2013 to almost 7 months in prison.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On April 4, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., Danielle "Remi" Denson was sentenced to 76 months in prison and ordered to pay a money judgment of $9,046, traceable to the proceeds of the offense. Denson pleaded guilty in December 2012 to defrauding the IRS and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, on May 31, 2011, local and federal agencies executed a search warrant at Denson's apartment in Riverview. During the search, officers discovered documents consistent with the filing of fraudulent federal income tax returns using stolen identities. Specifically, officers recovered hundreds of pages of handwritten and typed ledgers listing individuals' names, social security numbers, and refund amounts. From approximately 2008 through and including 2011, Denson attempted to file returns totaling approximately $2,363,849.

Florida Man Sentenced for Role in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On April 3, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Arthy Icart, of Miami, was sentenced to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his participation in a $3.3 million stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme. Icart previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file fraudulent claims, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft.  Icart and co-conspirator Charlton Escarmant, of Miami, were charged in a five-count indictment for their participation in an identity theft tax refund scheme. According to court documents, some of the personal identification information used by Icart and Escarmant was stolen from a community college’s financial aid office.  Icart and Escarmant filed tax returns using the stolen identification information and also in their own name, and created false W-2 forms with fictitious employer information.  Neither defendant ever worked for the employers noted on the false W-2 forms.  At the time of their arrest, Icart and Escarmant unlawfully possessed approximately 22 pre-paid tax debit cards in the names of other individuals. In total, during the course of the scheme, Icart and his co-conspirator submitted approximately 400 fraudulent tax returns to the IRS, seeking more than $3.3 million in tax refunds. Sentencing for Charlton Escarmant has been scheduled for a later date.

Alabama Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Conspirators Sentenced
On March 28, 2013, in Montgomery, Ala., Mary Bennett, of Elmore County, Ala., was sentenced to 75 months in prison for her role in an identity theft and tax fraud scheme. On March 27, 2013, Eugenia Burks, also of Elmore County, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for her role in the same scheme. Bennett had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, as well as aggravated identity theft. Burks pleaded guilty to conspiracy. According to court documents, Bennett and Burks were part of a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain both federal and state income tax refunds by using stolen identities to file false tax returns. Fraudulently obtained refund checks were mailed to various addresses used in the conspiracy, while other refunds were obtained through direct deposits into numerous bank accounts controlled by the conspirators. Bennett admitted to being the one responsible for actually filing the false tax returns and also to storing stolen identity information at her home.

California Woman Sentenced for Role in Tax Fraud Scheme
On March 27, 2013, in Sacramento, Calif., Nadiyah Muhammad Woods was sentenced to 37 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $902,617 in restitution. Woods is the last of three defendants to be sentenced for a scheme to obtain tax refunds by filing false tax returns. Nakia Renee Vaughn was sentenced in December 2012 to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Tomisha Lee McKinnie was sentenced in November 2012 to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release. According to court documents, Woods, Vaughn and McKinnie filed false tax returns using an online tax preparation software. To operate the scheme, the defendants obtained Green Dot and other debit cards offered through the software that were loaded with the tax refunds of taxpayer victims whose identities they used. They had the tax refunds mailed to various addresses under their control in Sacramento County. The defendants posed as the victims in order to activate the debit cards, cash the checks, and obtain cash, goods and services. The scheme involved more than 280 false tax returns and more than 200 victim taxpayers.

New York Resident Sentenced for Role in Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme
On March 22, 2013, in White Plains, N.Y., Jared Brewton was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his participation in a fraudulent tax refund scheme involving identity theft, subscribing to false and fraudulent tax returns, and impersonating an IRS employee and a New York State Department of Labor official. According to court documents, from about 2006 through about 2010, Brewton prepared and filed with the IRS various federal income tax returns in his own name and in the names of others that fraudulently inflated income and withholding figures. For example, Brewton falsely reported that his wages for the calendar year 2006 were $783,981 and that $359,750 in taxes had been withheld by his employers. Brewton also fraudulently obtained tax refunds in other people’s names by stealing the names or defrauding the people into giving him their personal identifying information, then filing fraudulent tax returns in their names, and directing that the resulting refunds be sent to his address. On at least one occasion Brewton posed as someone affiliated with the New York State Department of Labor in order to persuade a taxpayer to provide him with the taxpayer’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number. On multiple other occasions, Brewton posed as an employee of the IRS claiming to be an “Audit Group Representative.”

Florida Resident Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme
On March 22, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Kilwoind Jones, of Homestead, Florida, was sentenced to 32 months in prison and three years of supervised release for her participation in a stolen identity tax refund scheme. On October 5, 2012, a federal grand jury charged Jones with receiving stolen U.S. Treasury refund checks having forged signatures, with possessing stolen mail and theft of government money. Jones pleaded guilty on January 10, 2013 to theft of government property and aggravated identity theft.  During the plea hearing, Jones admitted to receiving three stolen U.S. Treasury tax refund checks and to depositing the three stolen U.S. Treasury tax refund checks with the forged signatures into her bank account.

Man Sentenced for Participating in Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme
On March 18, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif., William Gomez-Corzo, who also used the name “William Perez,” was sentenced to 54 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,320,566 in restitution to the IRS. Gomez-Corzo pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public money for his role in a scheme that defrauded the IRS of millions of dollars by filing false income tax returns. According to court documents, Gomez-Corzo and his associates used the names and social security numbers of residents of Puerto Rico to file more than 1,000 false federal income tax returns seeking tax refunds based on the earned income credit. Gomez-Corzo and his co-conspirators used false out-of-state drivers licenses to open private mail boxes to receive the tax refund checks. Gomez-Corzo also pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft for using an identity stolen from a dead man to obtain a United States passport.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Tax Refund Fraud
On March 11, 2013, in Miami, Fla., David Forbes, of Cooper City, Fla., was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $372,342 in restitution. Forbes previously pleaded guilty to the theft of government funds  resulting from his participation in a stolen identity tax refund scheme. According to court documents, Forbes received more than $1,574,791 in tax refunds payments and deposited those funds into his personal and corporate bank accounts. These tax refund payments were obtained by filing false tax returns using stolen personal identification information. During the investigation and prosecution, Forbes consented to the government’s seizure of $888,399.  In addition, other bank accounts were identified and an additional $313,550 was frozen and returned to the government.  

Florida Man Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On March 7, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Jonathan Torres-Bonilla, of Hollywood, Fla., was sentenced to 192 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $100,388 in restitution to the IRS.  On December 27, 2012, Torres was convicted at trial of two counts of access device fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft in connection with an identity theft tax refund fraud scheme.  According to court documents, Torres had been observed by plain-clothes police officers at a mall using multiple debit cards at multiple ATMs on November 25, 2011.  When officers searched Torres and his car, they found 28 pre-paid debit cards (loaded with $117,000 in tax refunds), dozens of ATM receipts, and more than $1,700 in cash.  At sentencing, Torres was found to have obstructed justice by lying during his testimony at trial.  

Alabama Defendants Sentenced for Their Role in a Million Dollar Identity Theft Tax Scheme
On March 6, 2013, in Montgomery, Ala., Corey Means was sentenced to 20 months in prison and Melba Wilson was sentenced to eight months home detention for their involvement in a million dollar identity theft tax scheme.  According to court documents, between October 2009 and April 2012, Antoinette Djonret and her co-conspirators used stolen identities to file over 1,000 false tax returns that fraudulently claimed over $1.7 million in tax refunds. Djonret orchestrated this scheme by obtaining stolen identities from multiple sources and establishing an elaborate network for laundering the refund money. Djonret recruited Corey Means, Melba Wilson and others into the conspiracy. Melba Wilson and Corey Means recruited individuals to obtain prepaid debit cards and gave the cards to Djonret. Corey Means also provided addresses to Djonret for receiving prepaid debit cards. The fraudulent tax refunds obtained by the conspiracy were directed to these prepaid debit cards and Djonret and her co-conspirators would then use the cards to obtain the proceeds. Djonret was previously sentenced to 144 months in prison for her role in this scheme and for other criminal conduct.  

Florida Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On March 6, 2013, in Fort Myers, Fla., Keith Stewart was sentenced to 54 months in prison and five years of supervised release.  Stewart pleaded guilty on July 11, 2012 to presenting false claims to the government and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, Stewart knowingly prepared and filed false income tax returns with the IRS for fraudulent tax refunds. Stewart also used various means of identification belonging to other people in order to obtain debit cards in their names. At the time of his arrest, he possessed the names and personal information of at least 100 individuals.

Owner of Florida Dry Cleaner Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On March 1, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Frantz Auguste, of Sunny Isles, was sentenced to 45 months in prison and one year of supervised release on one count of access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in connection with an identity theft tax refund fraud scheme.  According to court documents, law enforcement searched Auguste’s dry cleaning business in North Miami Beach on October 4, 2012, and found the following in a locked room for which Auguste had the only key: (1) Handwritten notes and lists with the personal identification information, including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, of approximately 100 individuals.  Several of these lists appeared to have originated from a local nursing home and rehabilitation center, (2) Multiple tax refund checks in different individuals’ names, and (3) Multiple tax returns in different individuals’ names.

Florida Man Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On February 27, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Luis Enrique Ledee Bernard, aka Luis L. Bernard, of Miramar, Florida, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $22,000 in restitution. Bernard pleaded guilty on December 17, 2012 to one count of theft of government funds and one count of aggravated identity theft. On October 9, 2012, Bernard was charged in a seventeen-count indictment in connection with a scheme to obtain fraudulent tax return proceeds. According to the indictment, Bernard deposited nine fraudulent tax refund checks that were fraudulently obtained by using the stolen personal identification information of at least four persons who were deceased.  The proceeds from the nine fraudulent tax return refunds were direct-deposited into Bernard's bank account.

Connecticut Woman Sentenced in Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme
On February 22, 2013, in Hartford, Conn., Damaris Peralta, of Stamford, Conn., was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $198,425 in restitution, jointly with her co-defendants.  On October 24, 2012, Peralta pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS. According to court documents, between October and December 2010, Peralta, Hector Medina and others were involved in a conspiracy through which they obtained at least 35 U.S. Treasury tax refund checks by filing fraudulent tax returns, with false W-2 forms attached, on behalf of citizens of Puerto Rico without their knowledge or consent.  As part of the scheme, Matilde Fabian-Pichardo used her position as a bank teller to cash the fraudulent checks presented to her by Medina and others.  Medina kept the majority of the proceeds of the scheme and paid Peralta and others for their assistance. On October 2, 2012, Medina was sentenced to 27 months in prison.  

Florida Man Sentenced for Role in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On February 22, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Rodney Saintfleur was sentenced to 159 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Saintfleur pleaded guilty on November 27, 2012 to conspiracy to submit fraudulent claims to the government, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Saintfleur and co-conspirators agreed on a plan to use stolen personal identifying information of others to file fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds. Saintfleur obtained documents that listed tens of thousands of names with corresponding dates of birth. He then searched an online proprietary database and fraudulently obtained the social security numbers of more than 23,000 people whose names and dates of birth appeared on the documents. Saintfleur provided these social security numbers to co-conspirators who then filed fraudulent and unauthorized tax returns seeking refunds using the stolen personal identifying information.    

Florida Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On February 14, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., Jermaine Lee Lippett was sentenced to 65 months in prison, ordered to forfeit $96,805 and to pay $96,553 in restitution to the IRS. Lippett pleaded guilty on November 2, 2012 to charges of conspiracy, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, Lippett orchestrated a scheme to convert the proceeds of fraudulently acquired federal tax refund checks through legitimate accounts held at a federal credit union. Lippett, acting in complicity with several account holders and a credit union teller, caused fraudulent tax refund checks to be negotiated through legitimate accounts.  He then shared the proceeds with the teller and account holders.

Alabama Woman Sentenced for Stealing Identities for Tax Refunds
On February 8, 2013, in Montgomery, Ala., Angeline Austin was sentenced to 65 months in prison for conspiring to defraud the government regarding claims, fraud in connection with identification documents, fraud in connection with computers and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, between June 13, 2010 and March 25, 2011, Austin worked for a company that contracts with other companies to manage their business data. As an employee of the contractor, Austin worked at a regional medical center records office. While working at the medical center, Austin stole over 800 names, social security numbers and other personal information from current and former patients. Austin then sold that information to another person for between $6,500 and $8,000. These stolen identities were then used to file fraudulent tax returns.

Three Florida Residents Sentenced for Tax Refund Fraud Scheme Using Stolen Identities of Foreign Nationals
On February 7, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Christian Andres Perin, of Miami, Venancio Oscar Pio, of Doral, and Olga Rosana Garcia, of Miami, were sentenced for their participation in a tax refund scheme using stolen identities of foreign nationals. Perin was sentenced to 87 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Pio and Garcia were each sentenced to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release. The defendants were also ordered to pay $1,146,745 in restitution. Each of the defendants pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS.  Perin also pleaded guilty to two counts of stealing tax refund checks. According to court documents, Perin obtained identity documents of foreign nationals from individuals living outside of the United States. Pio, in exchange for payment, would then send the identity documents to another individual outside the United States who would manufacture false tax Forms W-2, W-7 and 1040 Individual Income Tax Returns with fictitious employer information, income and withholding amounts. Garcia and other co-conspirators mailed the fraudulent forms to the IRS to obtain tax refunds. The tax refunds were directed into bank accounts or mailboxes controlled by Perin and Garcia. Perin and Garcia then collected the checks, deposited the checks in bank accounts and later withdrew the money.

Dominican Republic Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Drug Conspiracies
On February 1, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska, Isaac Amparo-Vazquez, aka David Feliciano-Sanchez and aka Jesus Angel Quinones-Ortiz, of the Dominican Republic, was sentenced to 57 months in prison and four years of supervised release for his role in drug and tax fraud conspiracies. According to court documents, Amparo-Vazquez also conspired to use stolen Puerto Rican identities to file tax returns and obtain fraudulent income tax refunds. Between January 2010 and March 2012, Amparo-Vazquez and other co-conspirators defrauded the United States by filing false tax returns and claiming millions of dollars in tax refunds to which they were not entitled to receive. To accomplish their tax refund scheme, the conspirators obtained the names and social security numbers of individuals from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. They then fabricated individual income tax returns in those names falsely claiming that they were owed thousands of dollars in refunds. Amparo-Vazquez convinced friends and acquaintances to give him their addresses so that U.S. Treasury checks could be sent to the Anchorage area. Amparo-Vazquez also admitted that he obtained false identification documents from the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles and then used these documents to open a bank account, into which he deposited a U.S. Treasury check. Finally, Amparo-Vazquez admitted that, between December 31, 2011 and January 8, 2012, he conspired with others to arrange for two kilograms of cocaine to be shipped to Alaska for distribution.

Family Members Sentenced in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
On February 1, 2013, in Montgomery, Ala., several family members were sentenced for their involvement in a $1.9 million dollar stolen identity refund fraud scheme. Barbara Murry, Veronica Temple and Yolanda Moses were each sentenced to 57 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,908,659 in restitution. Douglas Murry was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $142,038 in restitution.  Almetta Johnson was sentenced to eight months home detention. Lee Moses, Jeffrey Temple and Courtney Johnson were each sentenced to probation. According to court documents, between January 2006 and April 2012, the defendants and their co-conspirators directed over 900 false tax refunds claiming in excess of $1.9 million to several bank accounts they controlled. The conspiracy consisted of two parts. First, the defendants received false tax refunds into their bank accounts and provided a portion of the funds to the third-party preparers. In the second part of the conspiracy, Veronica Temple and her sister, Yolanda Moses, obtained stolen identities from multiple sources. Veronica Temple, Yolanda Moses and others filed false tax returns from their homes and B & B Tax Service which was owned and operated by Barbara Murry. They directed the tax refunds to numerous bank accounts controlled by the defendants and their co-conspirators. Veronica Temple, Yolanda Moses, and Barbara Murry recruited individuals, including Douglas Murry, to open bank accounts in furtherance of the scheme.

Kentucky Woman Sentenced for Filing False Income Tax Returns and Identity Theft
On January 29, 2013, in Bowling Green, Ky., Louisa A. Edmonds, of Elkton Kentucky, was sentenced to 41 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $37,139 in restitution to the IRS.  Edmonds pleaded guilty on August 29, 2012 to five counts of filing a false income tax return with the IRS, fifteen counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns filed with the IRS, and four counts of identity theft.  According to court documents, Edmonds admitted that she filed false income tax returns for 2005 through 2009, for herself that contained various false deductions.  Additionally, Edmonds admitted that she prepared false income tax returns for others that claimed deductions and credits that they were not entitled to receive. Finally, Edmonds admitted that she knowingly used the identification of another person without permission to make a false claim against the United States by filing a false income tax return with the IRS.  

Husband and Wife Sentenced for Fraud and Identity Theft
On January 30, 2013, in Roanoke, Va., Michelle A. Ferguson, of Roanoke, Va., was sentenced to 29 months in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud and stealing the identities of others. Her husband, William J. Ferguson Jr., was sentenced to 14 months in prison for his participation in the conspiracy to commit fraud.  According to court documents, the Fergusons operated a tax return preparation business out of their Roanoke home and committed fraud in two specific manners. When meeting with clients face-to-face to prepare their taxes, the Fergusons would have their clients sign the return without reviewing its contents. The returns were set-up to have any refunds deposited directly into an account controlled by the Fergusons. To maximum refunds, the Ferguson, without the knowledge of their clients, included phony Schedule C's, Profit and Loss from Business, to the returns. Once the tax refund was received by the Fergusons, they would write a check to each client for a fraction of the total refund received. In addition, the defendants filed false tax returns using stolen social security numbers. The individuals who had their identity stolen did not receive any portion of the proceeds obtained through the false claim for refund.

Tax Preparer Sentenced for Identity Theft and Tax Fraud
On January 29, 2013, in Boston, Mass., Rosa Ivette Colon, of Milford, Mass., was sentenced to 61 months in prison and three years of supervised release for filing hundreds of false income tax returns for her clients and identity theft.  She was also ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution to the IRS. In August 2012, Colon pleaded guilty to a 32-count indictment charging her with aggravated identity theft, filing false claims with the IRS, and forging endorsements on United States Treasury checks. Colon operated a business called X-Press Taxes in Somerville, Mass. During the tax years 2004 through 2010, she prepared hundreds of false income tax returns for her clients. On numerous occasions, when preparing income tax returns for clients, Colon prepared two different versions of the return. Colon gave one version of the return to the client, but filed another version seeking a larger refund with the IRS, and kept the additional fraudulent amount for herself. In addition, Colon submitted false personal income tax returns to the IRS on her own behalf. Colon also unlawfully used the identities of three individuals in connection with her fraudulent tax refund scheme.

Dominican National Sentenced for Identity Trafficking Scheme
On January 29, 2013, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Rafael Joaquin Beltre-Beltre, formerly of Caguas, Puerto Rico, was sentenced to 63 months in prison for his leading role in trafficking the identities of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens and corresponding identity documents. In addition Beltre-Beltre will forfeit $424,793 in illegal proceeds and be deported to the Dominican Republic after the completion of his sentence. On September 4, 2012, Beltre-Beltre pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit identification fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling for financial gain and one count of international money laundering. Beltre-Beltre admitted that he and his co-conspirators sold personal identifying information pertaining to real Puerto Rican U.S. citizens, including minors, and that he knew some of the identities would be used to commit tax fraud and some would be used to fraudulently apply for U.S. passports.

Florida Man Sentenced for Income Tax Fraud
On January 24, 2013, in Tallahassee, Fla., Marvens Jean-Paul, of Opa Locka, Florida, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $280,285 in restitution. Jean-Paul pleaded guilty in 2012 to two counts of conspiracy to file false claims, seven counts of wire fraud, and four counts of aggravated identity theft based upon his involvement in schemes to file false claims for more than $1 million in federal tax refunds in 2010 and 2011. According to court documents, Jean-Paul admitted to stealing personal identifying information from an office on the campus of a Florida university. Illegally using the information, Jean-Paul and his co-conspirators filed false tax returns. At Jean-Paul’s direction, his co-defendants, Kimle Fils-Aime and Guerline St. Charles, cashed tax refund checks generated by one of the schemes at a bank where they worked as tellers. In addition, Jean-Paul arranged for the illegally obtained tax refunds to be loaded onto prepaid debit cards, which were used to wire transfer cash. Fils-Aime was previously sentenced to 12 months in prison and ordered to pay $86,748 in restitution. St. Charles was previously sentenced to five years’ probation, with eight months’ home detention, and ordered to pay $73,320 in restitution.

Florida Woman Sentenced on Identity Theft and Fraud Charges
On January 23, 2013, in Jacksonville, Fla., Regina Ward, of Gainesville, Fla., was sentenced to 13 months in prison and three years of supervised release for charges related to identity theft, fraud against the United States, and Treasury check fraud.  Ward was also ordered to pay $6,500 in restitution to the IRS.  According to court documents, in February 2012, Ward met with an undercover agent (UC) posing as an individual willing and capable of cashing United States Treasury checks without proper identification.  Ward presented the UC with a Treasury check for $12,727, in the name of another individual.  Ward negotiated a check-cashing fee with the UC and advised that she had other checks that she needed to cash. Ward sold the Treasury check to the UC for $6,500. Later that same month, Ward met with the UC again and attempted to cash two additional Treasury checks.  During the meeting, Ward sold ten stolen identities for the purpose of filing fraudulent federal income tax returns.  She sold these identities for $850 each.

California Woman Sentenced for Filing Tax Returns Using Stolen Identities
On January 23, 2013, in San Francisco, Calif., Taneshia Stephenson was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Stephenson pleaded guilty on October 3, 2012 to conspiring to file false claims. According to her plea agreement, beginning in July 2008, Stephenson helped other individuals obtain fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS based on tax returns that were filed using stolen identities.  Stephenson admitted that each of the tax returns she assisted in filing claimed fictitious Social Security income and withholding as a basis for the fraudulent tax refund. As part of the scheme, Stephenson and her co-conspirators asked the IRS to directly deposit the fraudulent refunds into a bank account that Stephenson could access. In 2008, Stephenson allowed her bank account to be used by another individual for that purpose.

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns
On January 14, 2013, in Phoenix, Ariz., Espiridion Adrian Lugo, of Pittsburgh, Pa., was sentenced to 54 months in prison and ordered to pay $128,388 in restitution.  Lugo pleaded guilty on October 10, 2012 to conspiring to defraud the United States and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, between July 2008 and May 2009, Lugo engaged in a scheme to obtain monies from the United States through the submission of fraudulent tax returns.  Lugo submitted nearly three dozen Federal tax returns to the United States in the names of deceased persons from California.  For each of these tax returns, Lugo falsified the deceased individuals' wages, address, income tax withholdings, dependents, tax credits, and other deductions, in order to maximize the tax refund. To conceal his activity from law enforcement, Lugo created a shell company called Uncle Sam’s Tax Service in Buckeye, Ariz. and obtained bank accounts under that business name. In total, Lugo falsely claimed over $279,000 in refund payments.

Four Men Sentenced for Fraudulent Tax Returns and Mail Fraud
On January 10, 2013, in Dayton, Ohio, Elian Zayed, of Westlake, Ohio, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiracy and mail fraud. Zayed was also ordered to pay $177,744 in restitution to the IRS. Also on January 10, 2013, Eric J. Howard, of Tampa, Fla., was sentenced to 87 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $177,744 in restitution for mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. On January 3, 2013, Samer Sammor, of Broadview Heights, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $25,429 in restitution for false claims against the U.S. On December 21, 2012, Lamia Suleiman, of Lutz, Fla., was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $177,744 in restitution for misprision of a felony. According to court documents, from 2009 to at least August 2011, Zayed, Howard, Suleiman, Sammor and others defrauded the United States by filing false and fraudulent tax returns, many in the names of recently deceased taxpayers. The co-conspirators directed the refunds to controlled locations in Florida. The U.S. Treasury checks generated by the false tax returns were sent by U.S. mail to co-conspirators in Ohio, who then sold and distributed those checks for negotiation at various businesses and banking institutions.

Alabama Woman Sentenced for Identity Theft Conspiracy
On January 2, 2013, in Montgomery, Ala., Nakesha Donaldson was sentenced to 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $781,305 in restitution to the IRS. Donaldson pleaded guilty on September 20, 2012 to conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, Donaldson worked at a tax preparation office located in Montgomery, Alabama.  From approximately July 2007 through October 2010, Donaldson and the other conspirators prepared tax returns containing false dependents, income and expenses and claims for false tax refunds.  Additionally, Donaldson possessed and used stolen identities to electronically file false tax returns and claim false refunds.

Chicago Man Sentenced for Tax and Wire Fraud
On January 8, 2013, in Chicago, Ill., Yair Berkowitz, of Chicago, was sentenced to 62 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $4,069,091 in restitution to the IRS. According to court documents, from 2003 until August 2009, Berkowitz, along with others, participated in a scheme to defraud and obtain money and property from the IRS and various state departments of revenue. Berkowitz and others involved in the scheme, submitted fraudulent state and federal income tax returns using the identities of prisoners and deceased persons. Berkowitz also acknowledged collecting and distributing fraudulently obtained state and federal tax refunds and refunds proceeds from co-conspirators.

Former U.S. Marine Sentenced for Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme Targeting U.S. Marines
On December 21, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Jobson Cenor, of North Miami, was sentenced to 57 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Cenor pleaded guilty on October 3, 2012, to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Cenor and co-conspirator Dorothy Boulin agreed on a plan to use stolen personal identifying information of individuals to file fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds. In late 2011 and early 2012, Cenor provided Boulin with more than a hundred names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of U.S. Marines, many of whom were serving in Cenor’s unit in Afghanistan. Cenor provided the personal identity information to Boulin by creating draft messages in e-mail accounts with the personal identifying information and then sending Boulin the log-in information for the e-mail accounts. On July 12, 2012, Dorothy Boulin was sentenced to 70 months in prison.

Memphis Woman Sentenced on Tax Fraud Charges
On December 21, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn., Aundria Bryant-Branch was sentenced to 262 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $690,399 in restitution to the IRS. According to the indictment, Bryant-Branch orchestrated a tax refund scheme beginning about 2006 and continuing until approximately June 10, 2008. Bryant-Branch obtained stolen identification information and a stolen “Warrant Book” from the Memphis Police Department. Bryant-Branch would give the stolen identification information to others, who then used it to prepare and electronically file false tax returns with the IRS claiming refunds without the taxpayer’s knowledge.

Former Alabama State Employee Sentenced for Identity Theft and Tax Fraud
On December 14, 2012, in Montgomery, Ala., Natacia Webster, of Montgomery, Ala., was sentenced to 50 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $113,000 in restitution. Webster pleaded guilty in September 2012 to charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to her plea agreement, Webster had been an employee in the central records office of an Alabama state agency, which allowed her access to the personal identifying information of numerous individuals. Webster stole identifying information from state databases and provided them to a co-conspirator, Melinda Clayton. Clayton would then use those stolen identities to file false federal tax returns that fraudulently claimed refunds.  Clayton was sentenced earlier in the year to 61 months in prison.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On December 12, 2012, in Tampa, Fla., Belinda Brooks, of Tampa, was sentenced to 66 months in prison for stolen identity refund fraud. Brooks was also ordered to pay a money judgment of $118,882, the proceeds of Brooks' criminal activity. She pleaded guilty on May 25, 2012. According to court documents, Brooks stole the names and social security numbers of other individuals in order to file fraudulent tax returns in their names and obtain tax refunds for the tax years 2008 and 2009. In addition, Brooks filed a false tax return for herself.

Former Basketball Program Supervisor Sentenced for Identity Theft and Tax Evasion
On December 10, 2012, in Manhattan, N.Y., Peter Iulo, a former referee and basketball program supervisor at Chelsea Piers Management, Inc., was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution to the IRS. Iulo pleaded guilty in June 2012 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft, and four counts of tax evasion. According to court documents and statements made in court, from 1996 through 2008, Iulo worked as a referee for Chelsea Piers’ adult basketball leagues. Chelsea Piers is a sports and entertainment complex in Manhattan where various adult basketball leagues play their games. Referees for the basketball games are paid approximately $40 per game by Chelsea Piers. In any year in which a referee is paid more than $600, Chelsea Piers must report the income to the IRS. Iulo and others participated in a massive identity theft and tax evasion scheme that used stolen identification information to ensure that dozens of referees were rarely, if ever, paid more than $600 per year in their own names. As part of the scheme, Iulo provided Chelsea Piers with false IRS forms that contained the stolen identification information. When Chelsea Piers issued checks payable to the names of the stolen identities, Iulo and other referees who received these checks, endorsed, and then cashed or deposited them. Iulo used numerous identities, including New York City police officers and firefighters who had acted as referees in the past. As a result of the scheme, Iulo avoided having Chelsea Piers report the income he was paid to the IRS, and thereby avoided paying taxes on that income. In addition, Iulo facilitated identity theft and tax evasion by dozens of referees at Chelsea Piers. Iulo also failed to file federal income tax returns between 2005 and 2008.

Florida Man Sentenced for Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On November 30, 2012, in Miami, Fla., William Joseph was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Joseph pleaded guilty on August 31, 2012 to one count of theft of government money and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Joseph and seven others were charged in an FBI sting operation. From February 2012 to April 2012, the FBI operated a financial services store in North Miami that accepted fraudulently obtained tax refund checks from individuals looking to cash those checks. In March and April 2012, Joseph cashed or assisted in the cashing 13 fraudulently obtained income tax refund checks, totaling approximately $70,000. He provided fake identification documents to the undercover agent at the store matching the names of the victims on the checks. He also forged the signatures of the victims on the back of some of the checks.

Florida Man Sentenced for Tax Refund Scheme
On November 28, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Marvince Milfort, of North Miami, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Milfort pleaded guilty to four counts of identity theft, one count of theft of public money, and one count of access device fraud. According to court documents, between September 2011 and February 2012, Milfort used stolen Social Security Administration (SSA) documents containing personal identification information of SSA applicants to electronically file false federal income tax returns in the names of the identity theft victims using an online program.  In this way, Milfort claimed IRS tax refunds to which he was not entitled. To execute the scheme, Milfort directed the IRS to deposit the refunds onto debit cards. Upon receipt of the loaded debit cards, Milfort would convert the funds to cash or would use the debit cards to make purchases at local retailers.

Mexican National Sentenced for Trafficking the Identities of Puerto Rican U.S. Citizens
On November 26, 2012, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jose Sergio Garcia-Ramirez, formerly of Rockford, Ill., was sentenced to 54 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $35,900. In addition, Garcia-Ramirez, a Mexican national, was ordered to be removed from the United States after the completion of his sentence. On July 17, 2012, Garcia-Ramirez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit identification fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft for trafficking of identities of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens and corresponding identity documents. To date, a total of 53 individuals have been charged for their roles in the identity trafficking scheme, and 18 defendants have pleaded guilty. According to court documents, individuals located in the Savarona area of Caguas, Puerto Rico obtained Puerto Rican identities and corresponding identity documents. Other conspirators located in various cities throughout the United States acted as identity brokers and solicited customers and sold Social Security cards and corresponding Puerto Rico birth certificates for prices ranging from $700 to $2,500 per set. Some identity brokers assumed a Puerto Rican identity themselves and used that identity in connection with the trafficking operation. Their customers generally obtained the identity documents to assume the identity of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens and to obtain additional identification documents, such as legitimate state driver’s licenses. Some customers allegedly obtained the documents to commit financial fraud and attempted to obtain a U.S. passport.  Garcia-Ramirez admitted that he was an identity broker in the conspiracy and operated in Illinois.

Defendant Sentenced for Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud
On November 19, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Louis Gachelin, of Miami, was sentenced to 28 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Gachelin pleaded guilty on July 13, 2012, to one count of theft of government money and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents and statements made in court, in March and April 2012, Gachelin cashed and attempted to cash 29 fraudulently obtained income tax refund checks totaling approximately $100,000.  

New Mexico Man Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On November 19, 2012, in Albuquerque, N.M., Douglas Kuester, a tax preparer from Silver City, N.M., was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered pay $911,000 in restitution. Kuester pleaded guilty in May 2012 to charges of filing false claims and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Kuester used stolen identities to file false tax returns which fraudulently claimed refunds.  He would direct the fraudulently obtained refunds to various bank accounts and prepaid debit cards, retaining portions of the proceeds for himself.

Barbados National Sentenced for Using Stolen Identities to File False Claims for Tax Refund
On November 7, 2012, Chicago, Ill., Andrew J. Watts, a Barbados national, was sentenced to 114 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution. Watts pleaded guilty on July 10, 2012, to one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, between 2007 and 2011, Watts filed false federal income tax returns in the names of deceased taxpayers seeking fraudulent refunds. Watts either signed the name of the deceased taxpayer to the tax return or would falsely list himself as the deceased taxpayer’s representative. As part of the scheme, Watts filed over 470 false federal income tax returns, claiming fraudulent refunds in excess of $120 million. Watts directed the IRS to either mail the refund checks to an address he controlled or to electronically deposit the refund into a bank account under his control.

Arizona Woman Sentenced for Role in Tax Refund Scheme
On November 5, 2012, in Phoenix, Ariz., Gezelle Helena Amaechi was sentenced to 42 months in prison and ordered to pay $386,938 in restitution to the IRS. Amaechi pleaded guilty on August 20, 2012 to conspiracy to commit false claims, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Amaechi and others used stolen identities of disabled individuals to claim more than $1,000,000 in bogus tax returns from the IRS. Amaechi and her 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. Previously sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy include: Shelton Tanner was sentenced on February 6, 2012 to 60 months in prison and Latricia Williams was sentenced on September 21, 2012 to 36 months in prison.

Indiana Woman Sentenced for Filing False Claims for Refunds
On October 31, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind., Lowkeysha Lipscomb was sentenced to 41 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $42,067 in restitution. According to court documents, Lipscomb filed false claims for refunds using the Social Security Numbers of other individuals both living and deceased. Lipscomb and another co-defendant would prepare fraudulent Forms W-2 and used this information to file false tax returns. The tax refunds were deposited in bank accounts and loadable debit card accounts controlled by the defendants.

Alabama Woman Sentenced for Using Stolen Identities to Obtain Tax Refunds
On October 23, 2012, in Montgomery, Ala., Jacqueline Slaton was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay over $100,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to her involvement in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme.  According to court documents, between December 2011 and March 2012, Slaton filed at least 102 fraudulent federal income tax returns using stolen identities. She also filed 102 fraudulent Alabama state tax returns. The total federal and state tax refunds requested was $154,904. Slaton had the tax refunds directed to prepaid debit cards and had the cards mailed to various addresses on a U.S. carrier’s route. A postal employee agreed to collect the prepaid debit cards for a fee.

Ohio Woman Sentenced for Stealing Identities Used in Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On October 23, 2012, in Cleveland, Ohio, Nelida I. Velasco, of Chardon, was sentenced to 39 months in prison and ordered to pay $47,004 in restitution. Velasco and her co-defendant David T. Tufts pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges including conspiracy to file false tax returns, making false claims, misuse of Social Security account numbers and aggravated identity theft. Tufts was sentenced in May 2012 to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $71,355 in restitution. According to court records, from in or about March 2009 to in or about September 2010, Tufts and Velasco, along with other co-conspirators, filed at least 35 false 2008 and 2009 federal income tax returns, resulting in a total of at least $155,000 in false claims for refunds. Tufts and Velasco provided the names, Social Security Numbers, and other personal identifiers to a co-conspirator, who then used that information to create false Form W-2s and fraudulent tax returns. Many of the names, Social Security Numbers, and personal identifiers were stolen by Velasco from her then-employer, a medical billing company.

Florida Man Sentenced for Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud
On October 16, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Kerly Joseph was sentenced to 78 months in prison and three years of supervised release on charges related to identity theft tax refund fraud. Joseph pleaded guilty on July 9, 2012, to one count of access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents and statements made in court, on April 27, 2012, Joseph’s apartment contained various items used in the identity theft fraud, including approximately 73 pre-paid debit cards in different names, a notebook containing more than 700 names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, a file folder containing tax returns for numerous individuals and a laptop computer set to an online tax preparation website. Approximately $161,000 in tax refund money had been loaded onto 22 of the pre-paid debit cards. An ATM video also showed the defendant withdrawing money from one of the pre-paid debit cards issued to a victim.

Defendant Sentenced for Role in Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme
On October 9, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C., Arileyda Amparo, of Lincolnton, was sentenced to 37 months in prison for participating in a scheme to defraud the government by obtaining false and fraudulent income tax refunds. The criminal indictment filed in March 2011 charged seven individuals with participating in the scheme.  According to court documents and court proceedings, from January 2010 through February 2011, 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. Five co-defendants previously have been sentenced in the same conspiracy:
• Dania Ramos, of Lincolnton - 48 months in prison.
• Jose de Jesus, aka Jose Ramos, of Vale - 37 months in prison.
• Xiomara Amparo, of Lincolnton - 18 months in prison.
• Mildred DePena, of Lincolnton - 12 months and one day in prison.
• Nelson Jimenez, of Lincolnton - 15 months in prison.
The last defendant named in the indictment, Johan Vargas, of Hickory, remains a fugitive from justice.

New York Man Sentenced for Role in Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme
On October 2, 2012, in Hartford, Conn., Hector Medina, of the Bronx, N.Y., was sentenced to 27 months of in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $204,000 in restitution for participating in a tax fraud and identity theft scheme. On January 27, 2012, Medina pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. According to court documents and statements made in court, between October and December 2010, Medina and others obtained at least 35 U.S. Treasury income tax refund checks. The majority of these checks were obtained from filing fraudulent tax returns using the personal information of Puerto Rican citizens without their knowledge or consent.  As part of the scheme, Matilde Fabian-Pichardo used her position as a bank teller in Stamford, Connecticut, to cash the fraudulent checks by using the legitimate accounts of bank customers. This scheme resulted in a loss of approximately $185,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, members of the conspiracy cashed 19 fraudulently obtained state tax refund checks from New York and North Carolina, resulting in an additional loss of approximately $19,000.  Fabian-Pichardo also has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

North Carolina Men Sentenced in Identity Theft Scheme  
On October 1, 2012, in Raleigh, N.C., Jeffrey Glenn Toohey and Christopher Fleming were sentenced to prison for their roles in an identity theft scheme. Toohey was sentenced to 125 months in prison, five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $600 special assessment and $261,354 in restitution. Fleming was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $300 special assessment, and $204,799 in restitution.  According to court documents, Toohey fraudulently opened credit card accounts using stolen identities. Once the fraudulent accounts were opened, Toohey and Fleming purchased items using the fraudulent accounts. Further in October 2010, Toohey and Fleming broke into a tax preparation office, stealing over 300 files containing personal information of tax clients. After the tax files were stolen, Toohey filed 2010 tax returns in the names of the clients and directed the tax refunds to either debit cards, which were mailed to addresses which Toohey and Fleming knew were vacant, or to bank accounts that were opened, using fraudulent and unauthorized information. When the tax refund proceeds were received, Toohey and Fleming used the funds to purchase various items.

 

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 14-Oct-2014