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Examples of Questionable Refund Investigations - Fiscal Year 2012

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

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

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

South Carolina Inmate Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On September 17, 2012, in Columbia, S.C., John C. Stone, formerly of Anderson, South Carolina, currently housed with the South Carolina Department of Corrections, was sentenced to 45 months in prison for conspiracy to defraud the government. Stone was also ordered to pay $134,468 in restitution to the government. Previously, co-defendant Tasha Glover was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $134,468 in restitution, and Herbert Glover was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay $6,274. Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Stone caused fictitious tax returns to be filed requesting false refunds. For the tax year 2008, Stone and others caused false returns to be submitted claiming approximately $1,094,086 in refunds.  

Oklahoma Woman Sentenced for Filing False Returns
On September 14, 2012, in Tulsa, Okla., Shannon Lashea Porter was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years supervised release and ordered to pay $209,755 in restitution for filing false income tax returns.  According to court documents, Porter filed false returns using a web-based tax software system and using other taxpayer’s identifying information for 2008 and 2009. Porter paid a family member to help obtain other people’s information used to file the false returns. Also, she routinely sold her children’s identifying information to be used on other people’s returns for years she didn’t file tax returns.

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

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

Couple Sentenced for Filing False Claims for Refunds
On August 27, 2012, in Phoenix, Ariz., Kevin M. Silva and Christine A. Silva, both of Castro Valley, Calif., were sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. In June 2012, the Silvas each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to false claims upon the United States and the actual presentation of a false claim upon the United States. According to their guilty pleas, the Silvas admitted to conspiring and participating in a scheme to obtain payment of false claims for refunds from the IRS by filing false federal income tax returns. In each instance, the Silvas claimed refunds to which they knew they were not entitled. All of the fraudulent claims were based primarily upon representations that money had been withheld by various financial institutions on behalf of the couple during the subject tax years and that the couple was entitled to the claimed withholdings. No such withholdings ever occurred. In support of each claim, the Silvas submitted to the IRS various false IRS Forms 1099-OID. The Silvas admitted to falsely claiming $1,544,034 in refunds and agreed to repay the remaining outstanding balance of $535,581 to the IRS.

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

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

Arizona Man Sentenced for Fraud and Tax Conspiracy
On August 10, 2012, in Denver, Colo., Richard Kellogg Armstrong, of Prescott, Ariz., was sentenced to 108 months in prison and three years of supervised release. The sentence will  run consecutive to the 660 day prison term and $1,021,500 in fines the court  imposed upon Armstrong as punitive sanctions for 10 acts of contempt of court. The court also ordered Armstrong to pay $1,678,834 in restitution to the IRS and forfeit two residences and a personal aircraft. Armstrong was found guilty on April 30, 2012, after a three week jury trial, of one count of mail fraud, eight counts of filing false claims against the United States, three counts of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from mail fraud, and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. According to the testimony at trial, Armstrong, co-defendant Curtis L. Morris and others conspired to file false tax returns claiming large tax refunds based upon fictitious federal income tax withholdings taken from bogus IRS Forms 1099-OID for themselves and others. Morris, of Elizabeth, Colo., awaits sentencing.

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

Florida Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud Involving First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit
On August 3, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Gregory J. Salgado, Jr., of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., was sentenced to 33 months in prison, one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay $188,108 in restitution. Salgado pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false personal tax return with the IRS and one count of preparing and filing a false tax return with the IRS for another taxpayer. According to the indictment, Salgado filed false income tax returns for himself and his clients in which he fraudulently claimed the first-time home buyer credit (FTHBC) and other tax credits and deductions.  Through this scheme, between January 2009 and May 2009, Salgado submitted more than 75 tax returns that included false claims for the FTHBC.

Three Sentenced for Their Roles in Filing False Claims for Refunds
On August 2, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo., Candance McNeil was sentenced to 20 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $359,991 in restitution to IRS. On July 20, 2012, Waltia Williams, of Shawnee, Kansas, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $219,755 in restitution to the IRS. On June 11, 2012, Melvin Artis, of Overland Park, Kansas, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $228,217 in restitution to the IRS. According to court documents, McNeil, Williams and Artis each admitted they participated in a conspiracy to make false claims to the government. They caused 49 false tax returns to be filed claiming a total of $359,991 in refunds from January 2009 to January 2010. McNeil and Artis recruited other individuals to file federal income tax returns under their own names. McNeil and Williams created false and inflated Forms W-2 earnings and withholdings information for those individual and then prepared and filed the fraudulent federal tax returns electronically with the IRS. These fraudulent returns claimed tax refunds to which the individuals were not entitled to receive. Artis also received debit cards that contained the false refunds, which were mailed to addresses associated with him. Artis then accompanied the recruited individual to obtain cash from the refunds on the debit cards, and kept a portion of the refund to share between himself, McNeil and Williams,

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

Connecticut Woman Sentenced for Helping Others File False Tax Returns
On July 25, 2012, in New Haven, Conn., Valerie Brown, of New Haven, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay full restitution for helping numerous individuals file false tax returns. According to court documents and statements made in court, from January 2006 through April 2009, Brown told individuals she could give them documents that would allow them to receive larger income tax refunds than they were entitled to receive. Brown would collect the individuals' names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and sometimes their dependants' information. She then prepared false Forms W-2 for the filers. In most instances, she either created a false W-2 that overstated wages and withholdings and/or used false dependant information to maximize the Earned Income Credit. Brown frequently told the filers to go to a tax preparation agency and have them prepare and file the tax returns using the false information she supplied. Once the tax returns were prepared and filed, the filers would receive refunds in the form of checks or stored value cards. Brown typically charged the filer approximately $500 to $1,500, with the fee based in part on the amount of the refund.
  
Operators of Florida Check Cashing Store Sentenced for Their Role in Treasury Check and Tax Refund Scheme
On July 20, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Wilson Lau, was sentenced to 84 months in prison and three years of supervised release. His wife, Kate Yuee Lau, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release. The defendants also agreed to the forfeiture of $5,262,297. Wilson and Kate Yuee Lau, formerly of Coral Springs, Fla., pleaded guilty on April 6, 2012 to one count of conspiracy.  In addition, Wilson Lau pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Wilson Lau was the operator of a check cashing store called American Quick Cash Depot, located in Oakland Park, Fla., where his wife Kate Yuee Lau also worked. From January 1, 2009 through June 22, 2011, the defendants cashed approximately 4,000 U.S. Treasury tax refund checks and tax refund anticipation loan checks, each of which was issued based upon fraud or bore forged endorsements, and each of which was accompanied by a false Florida driver’s license. The face value of these checks was $5,262,297.  

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

New York Inmate Sentenced for Filing False Claims Against the IRS
On July 2, 2012, in Buffalo, N.Y., Ronald Williams was sentenced to 120 months in prison and three years of supervised release. On January 27, 2012, a jury found Williams guilty of 12 counts of filing fraudulent claims against the United States. The evidence presented at trial showed that Williams, while an inmate at various New York State correctional facilities, filed 11 tax returns with the IRS during tax years 2006 through 2010 asking for refunds totaling $890,000,000. As part of his scheme to defraud the IRS, Williams applied for a fraudulent refund of $327,456. Prison authorities intercepted the check and returned it to the IRS. To further his claims, Williams fabricated withholdings on numerous Forms 1099-OID by claiming false withholding credits. Williams was also charged with aiding and abetting another prisoner with filing a fraudulent claim for a refund based upon the 1099-OID tax scheme.

California Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On June 22, 2012, in Seattle, Wash., Ronald L. Brekke, of Orange County, California, was sentenced to 144 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $6,206,998 in restitution. Brekke was convicted following a two-day jury trial in March 2012 on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud. According to court documents, Brekke promoted a tax fraud scheme known as “1099 OID” fraud. Promoters of this scheme claim that the U.S. Treasury will pay out tax refunds equal to the value of a person’s personal debt. Brekke assisted nearly 1,000 people in three countries to claim over $763 million in fraudulent tax refunds. The IRS flagged the vast majority of the 1099 OID filings as frivolous. About two-thirds of Brekke’s customers were Canadians who had never paid a dime in income tax and were not owed any money by the U.S. Treasury. Those submitting the phony claims were told to quickly move the money to Canada where it would be more difficult for the IRS to recover the money. Brekke took in about $400,000 in fees over less than a two year period from the people he aided in the fraud.

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

Canadian Man is Sentenced for Tax Refund Scheme
On June 20, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nev., Gaetano Fiore, of Montreal, Canada, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for trying to obtain false tax refunds from the IRS. According to the guilty plea memorandum, Fiore admitted that he was involved in attempting to obtain almost $1 million in fraudulent refunds. Specifically, on April 11, 2010, Fiore submitted a fraudulent 2006 tax return to the IRS seeking a $99,136 refund. Fiore submitted false documents with the return indicating that the amount had been withheld as federal tax by a bank, when in fact, it had not been withheld. Then, on about May 14, 2010, Fiore caused two fraudulently-obtained IRS tax refund checks, collectively totaling $853,425, to be sent to an attorney in Las Vegas. The checks were made payable to two different individuals in Canada who had fraudulently obtained the refunds and were paying Fiore a fee to transact them. The attorney was instructed to deposit the checks in an escrow account and then wire the funds to a bank account in Panama.  

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

South Carolina Tax Preparer Sentenced for Defrauding IRS

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

California Woman Sentenced for Conspiring to File False Tax Returns

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

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

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

Three Texas Women Sentenced in Half-Million Dollar Tax Scheme

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

Five Sentenced for Their Roles in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme

On June 1, 2012, in Cleveland, Ohio, Fahim Suleiman and Muuad Salem were sentenced to prison for their roles in a conspiracy to defraud the United States by obtaining false and fraudulent U.S. Treasury tax refund checks. Suleiman was sentenced to 64 months in prison, including a 24 month mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated identity theft. Salem was sentenced to 27 months in prison. According to the indictment, from April 2009 to at least August 2011, Muaad Salem, Fahim Suleiman, Najeh Widdi, Hanan Widdi, Hazem Woodi, Daxesj Patel and others defrauded the United States by filing false and fraudulent tax returns, many in the names of recently deceased taxpayers. The conspirators sold and distributed the Treasury checks for negotiation at various businesses and banking institutions. Other co-conspirators previously sentenced include:
 - Najeh Widdi - 36 months in prison
 - Hanan Widdi - 21 months in prison
 - Hazem Woodi - 18 months in prison
All five defendants were ordered to pay jointly $177,744 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. 

Five Individuals Sentenced for Conspiracy to Obtain Fraudulent Tax Refunds

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

Tennessee Resident Sentenced for Tax and Identity Theft Scheme

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

Oklahoma Man Sentenced for Filing a False Claim for Tax Refund and Aggravated Identity Theft

On May 10, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Okla., Mark Garner was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $20,384 in restitution to the IRS for filing a false claim for a tax refund and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, Garner used an internet tax service to electronically prepare a tax return and the name and social security number of another individual to claim the refund with the Internal Revenue Service. Garner pleaded guilty and admitted he knew the claim for tax refund was false when he submitted the claim and that he unlawfully used the name and SSN of another person without his or her permission or authority to claim the tax refund.

Defendant Sentenced for His Role in Tax Fraud Conspiracy

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

Four Sentenced for Fraudulent Prisoner Income Tax Refund Scheme

On May 8, 2012, in Pensacola, Fla., four Floridians were sentenced for their involvement in a fraudulent prisoner income tax refund scheme. Carter Hassman, currently in the Santa Rosa County Jail, was sentenced to 120 months in prison and ordered to pay $962,853 in restitution to the government.  Mary Hobbs Blair, of Cantonment, was sentenced to 52 months in prison and ordered to pay $962,853 in restitution to the government.  Nikki Kight, of Cantonment, and Michael “Elton” Blair, of Gulf Breeze, were each placed on probation for 60 months.  Elton Blair was ordered to pay $85,691 and Kight was ordered to pay $55,231 in restitution to the government.  The sentencing date for a fifth defendant, Thomas Rabeau, of Brandon, is scheduled for a later date.  The grand jury’s indictment charged that beginning around January 2007, the five defendants and others filed fraudulent tax returns using the names and social security numbers of inmates of  the Florida Department of Corrections and of other individuals who were not incarcerated. As part of this scheme, the home addresses of Mary Blair, Thomas Rabeau, Nikki Kight and Elton Blair’s were listed on the tax returns, so IRS refund checks would be mailed to them. False and nonexistent businesses were listed as the purported employers, including  fraudulent wages and withholding amounts for times when the inmates were incarcerated. During the course of the scheme, the defendants, and others, filed and caused to be filed approximately 223 false federal income tax returns, which claimed approximately $954,795 in fraudulent refunds from the United States.


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


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

  • Tyrone Boyd - 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $9,857 in restitution.
  • Ashuana Turner -  42 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $121,905 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and $73,935 in restitution to the Georgia Department of Revenue. 
  • Lawanda Mitchell was sentenced to 39 months in prison, five years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $9,857 in restitution. 


Leaders of Multi-million Dollar Fraud Ring Sentenced

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


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

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

Illinois Man Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns

On April 18, 2012, in Chicago, Ill., Valeriu Soare was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $10,928 in restitution for filing false tax returns.  According to court documents, Soare and others were involved in a conspiracy to collect tax refunds and economic stimulus payments they were not entitled to receive.  Fraudulent tax returns were submitted to the Internal Revenue Service using names and social security numbers of Romanian nationals and false W-2 forms.  Soare admitted that he and his co-conspirators claimed over $2.6 million on over 470 false claims.

Mother and Daughter Sentenced for Role in Scheme to Obtain Payment of False Claims for Tax Refunds

On April 18, 2012, in Amarillo, Texas, Evelyn Wells was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison and ordered to pay $100,360 in restitution for filing a false claim for a refund and aiding and abetting.  Her daughter, Cassandra Dean, is serving 21 months for the same offense and was also ordered o pay $100,360 in restitution.  According to court documents, Wells and her daughter conspired to defraud the U.S. by participating in a scheme to falsely claim income tax refunds from the government by filing in their own names, and causing others to file, false federal income tax returns for tax years 2006, 2007 and 2008.  They recruited family and friends to file these fraudulent income tax returns using their own names and social security numbers.  Wells and Dean provided false W-2 Forms containing fabricated employers’ names and fabricated amounts of tax withholdings for the individuals they recruited. Commercial tax preparers used these false W-2 Forms to prepare false federal income tax returns, which were electronically filed with the IRS.

Delaware Woman Sentenced for Defrauding U.S. Treasury of More Than $3 Million

On April 6, 2012, in Dallas, Texas, Lorna Moseti, of Clayton, Delaware, was sentenced to 120 months in prison and ordered to pay approximately $1.5 million in restitution.  Moseti was convicted in October 2011 on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. At trial, the government presented evidence that between 2007 and 2010, Moseti conspired with others to obtain tax refunds by submitting multiple fraudulent tax returns containing false information about employment and income. Moseti and the other conspirators obtained the identifying information of prison inmates and submitted false tax returns using the inmates’ social security numbers and variations of their names. They prepared and submitted false Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, claiming fictitious wage and withholding amounts and false Schedules C, Profit or Loss From Business-Sole Proprietorship, to show a substantial business loss to offset the falsely claimed wages, which resulted in a refund of most of the purported withholding. The false returns were either filed electronically or mailed to the Internal Revenue Service requesting that the refunds be either electronically deposited or mailed to bank accounts or addresses controlled by Moseti and the other conspirators. Evidence presented showed that once the funds were deposited into the controlled bank accounts, Moseti and the other conspirators would transfer all or part of the false refunds to other conspirators either by mail or wire transfers to various locations, including Kenya, United Arab Emirates and Italy. On some occasions, Moseti and the other conspirators would use the false refunds for their own personal benefit.

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

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

Texas Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud

On March 29, 2012, in Amarillo, Texas, Cassandra Dean was sentenced to 21 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $100,360 in restitution for tax fraud.  According to court documents, in 2006, 2007 and 2008, Dean and a co-defendant claimed refunds they knew they were not entitled to receive. They recruited family and friends to file fraudulent tax returns claiming inflated tax refunds. They created false W2s containing fabricated employers’ names and fabricated amounts of tax withholdings for the individuals they recruited. These false W-2 Forms were used by commercial tax preparers to prepare false federal income tax returns which were electronically filed with the IRS on behalf of the individuals recruited to participate in the scheme. As a result of these submissions, the defendants and the recruited individuals claimed refunds to which they were not entitled.

California Man Sentenced in Conspiracy to File False Claims for Tax Refunds

On March 22, 2012, in San Francisco, Calif., Jason Moore, aka John McCoy, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $78,959 in restitution.  Moore pleaded guilty on December 14, 2011, to conspiring to file false claims with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  According to his plea agreement, in June 2010, Moore obtained an Internet account in another person’s name that he used to file false tax returns.  During a search of Moore's apartment, law enforcement found fake identification cards, false tax refund checks, notes on how to program magnetic strips on credit cards, and credit cards in others people’s names.  Moore conspired with other participants in the scheme to file false tax returns using the computer at his residence.  He then obtained fake identification to cash the fraudulent Treasury checks issued in the names of individuals whose identities had been stolen.  During 2010, over $194,000 in false claims were filed from his residence.  As part of his plea, Moore agreed to repay the fraudulent claims that were issued.

Four Sentenced for Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme

On March 20, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C., four out of seven defendants were sentenced in a scheme to defraud the government by obtaining false and fraudulent income tax refunds.  Each of the four defendants sentenced had previously pleaded guilty to one count of false claims conspiracy:
• Dania Ramos, of Lincolnton, was sentenced to 48 months in prison.
• Jose de Jesus, aka Jose Ramos, of Vale, was sentenced to 37 months in prison.
• Xiomara Amparo, of Lincolnton, was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
• Mildred DePena, Lincolnton, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison.
Of the three additional defendants charged in the indictment, Nelson Jimenez and Arileyda Amparo, both of Lincolnton, await sentencing. Johan Vargas, of Hickory, remains a fugitive from justice.  According to court documents and court proceedings: From January 2010 through February 2011, the defendants participated in a scheme to obtain false tax refunds. To carry out their fraudulent scheme, 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 of 2011.

Man Sentenced for Filing False Claims for First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

On March 14, 2012, in Boston, Mass., Christopher Proe was sentenced to 92 months in prison, three years supervised release and ordered to pay over $1 million in restitution and a $1,700 special assessment  for his role in obtaining tax refunds after falsely claiming the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit. Proe pleaded guilty in October 2011. According to court documents, during the course of his scheme, Proe and a co-conspirator filed dozens of false tax returns after obtaining identity information from third parties under false pretenses and creating false W-2 forms for a fictitious company called Lawn Brothers Landscaping. For the tax year 2008 alone, Proe filed over 50 fraudulent tax returns and obtained over $500,000 in tax refunds, which were directed to bank accounts he controlled. As a part of the investigation, 14 individuals were previously charged and convicted with committing various crimes arising from their abuse of the federal government’s stimulus program by filing false claims with IRS in which they fraudulently claimed the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit.

Letter Carrier Sentenced for Role in Conspiracy Involving Fraudulent Tax Returns Requesting Tax Refunds

On March 13, 2012, in Tampa, Fla., Carmelo Rosado, Jr., of Riverview, was sentenced to 37 months in prison for conspiracy to commit theft or receipt of stolen mail matter and bribery of a public official.  Rosado pleaded guilty to both offenses on October 13, 2011. According to court documents, Rosado, Yudheiris Janga, Victor Manuel Pena, and Grievy Nehemias Sanchez-Villar participated in a conspiracy to file fraudulent federal individual income tax returns.  Through the fraudulent tax returns, conspirators requested tax refunds in the form of U.S. Treasury checks, to be mailed to addresses throughout the United States, including Florida.  Janga identified and recruited Rosado, who was then employed as a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier, to intercept, steal and take possession of U.S. Treasury checks.  Rosado was to deliver the intercepted checks to Janga in exchange for payment for his part in the scheme.  On March 7, 2011, Rosado stole 68 U.S. Treasury checks representing income tax refunds from the U.S. mail. The next day, Rosado delivered the stolen checks to Janga.  Janga was to pass the stolen checks on to another conspirator in exchange for payment.  Among the fraudulent returns were approximately 68 returns that requested a total of $509,017 in tax refunds. Victor Manuel Pena was sentenced on December 13, 2011 to 18 months in prison; Yudheiris Janga pleaded guilty on November 18, 2011, but is currently a fugitive; and Grievy Nehemias Sanchez-Villar is awaiting sentencing. 

New Jersey Man Sentenced for Fraudulent Claims for Tax Refunds

On March 13, 2012, in Newark, N.J., Stephen Pirrone was sentenced to 28 months in prison, three years supervised release and ordered to pay $199,355 in restitution for his involvement in a scheme to file fraudulent tax returns to obtain more than $200,000 in tax refunds. According to court documents and statements made in court, Pirrone created false W-2 forms for himself and a family member knowing that the false information contained in these forms would be used to create fraudulent tax returns.  Pirrone caused the false forms to be submitted as purportedly legitimate to commercial tax return preparers. The forms were used to prepare false income tax returns for 2003 through 2008, which were filed with the IRS on behalf of Pirrone and the family member.

Two Wisconsin Women Sentenced for Filing Fraudulent Income Tax Returns

On March 1, 2012, in Milwaukee, Wis., Roshunda Smith and Linda Townsend were sentenced to 46 months and 24 months, respectively, for their involvement in a scheme to submit numerous false claims for tax refunds.  According to court documents, Smith and Townsend submitted more than 170 false income tax returns seeking more than $1.5 million in refunds using false employment tax, income, dependents, tax withholdings, and claiming to be eligible for the First Time Home Buyers Credit.  Smith, who organize the scheme, was ordered to pay $450,000 and Townsend was ordered to pay $70,000 in restitution.

Two Individuals Sentenced in Connection with the Filing of Fraudulent Tax Returns

On February 29, 2012, in Harrisburg, Pa., Andre Lamar Henderson, formerly of York, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $10,183 in restitution as a result of his conviction for conspiring to submit approximately 43 false claims for income tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service between December 2007 and August, 2008. Co-defendant Theresa Toby, of York, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $8,629 restitution following her guilty plea to criminal conspiracy to submit false claims for income tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service. According to information presented in court, at the time the claims were submitted, Henderson was an inmate serving a Pennsylvania state prison sentence. Henderson prepared fraudulent claims for tax refunds using identifiers of other inmates and Toby assisted by mailing the false claims and opening bank accounts in which the refunds were deposited.

New York Man Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns

On February 24, 2012, in Syracuse, N.Y., Douglas M. Cavanaugh, Jr. was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $267,074 in restitution following his conviction on six counts of filing false claims for tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service.  Cavanaugh Jr., formerly of Binghamton, was arrested by U.S. Marshals at Los Angeles International Airport shortly after he arrived on a flight which originated in Brisbane, Australia, where Cavanaugh Jr. most recently resided. Evidence presented during the trial showed that in February 2009, Cavanaugh Jr. filed and assisted in filing with the Internal Revenue Service a total of six false tax returns claiming refunds totaling $1,045,587.

Illinois Man Sentenced for Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft

On February 17, 2012, in Fairview Heights, Ill., Samuel D. Hood II, of Belleville, Ill., was sentenced to 51 months in prison, five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $400 special assessment and over $102,000 in restitution. The sentencing was the result of Hood’s plea of guilty to an Information charging him with making false claims against the United States and bank fraud, as well as to an Indictment charging him with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. As part of the plea, Hood admitted to making false claims against the United States by seeking fraudulent tax refunds using a large number of returns filed in the names of other persons. Hood also admitted to using another person’s identity to make an internet application for a payday loan.

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

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

Kansas Tax Preparer Sentenced for Filing False Federal Tax Returns

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

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

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

South Carolina Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud

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

Texas Woman Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns

On February 2, 2012, in Del Rio, Texas, Lois Torres was sentenced to 36 months in prison and one year of supervised release for preparing false income tax returns.  According to court documents, Torres was doing business as A Little Bit of Everything and advised in the preparation of individual tax returns for clients.  Torres represented that her clients were entitled to the First Time Homebuyers Credit, when they were not.

Illinois Man Sentenced for Receiving Fraudulent Income Tax Refunds

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

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

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

Florida Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud

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

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

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

Tennessee Resident Sentenced for Role in Tax and Identity Theft Scheme

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

Georgia Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud

On December 22, 2011, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Demetries Johnson from Lithonia, Georgia, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $235,822 in restitution for making false, fictitious or fraudulent claims on U.S. Income Tax Returns.  According to court documents, Johnson admitted that, from 2006 through 2008, she knowingly and willfully made and presented to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), at least 39 federal tax returns which she knew to be false, fictitious and fraudulent.  Johnson prepared the federal tax returns for clients on her personal computer, and electronically filed them with the IRS.  All of the tax returns falsely claimed a dependent and/or overstated income.  These actions resulted in excess tax refunds of more than $200,000 for tax years 2006 and 2007. In some cases, Johnson received payments from the taxpayers for her tax preparation services. In other cases, Johnson received payments by directing the deposit of refund payments into specified bank accounts.

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

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

Florida Woman Sentenced for Tax and Mail Fraud

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

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

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

New York Woman is Sentenced for Aiding and Assisting in the Preparation of False Tax Returns

On November 22, 2011, in Rochester, N.Y., Shekeria Wilson, aka Chickeree Wilson was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison after pleading guilty in July 2011 to assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. According to court records, Wilson admitted to assisting in the preparation of false tax returns in 2010. Specifically, Wilson prepared false W-2s claiming that individuals worked for certain companies, made certain salaries and had federal tax withholdings when in truth and in fact, the individuals did not work for the companies and were not entitled to claim the refunds. In exchange, Wilson was to receive a portion of the tax refunds. In total, Wilson admitted to aiding and assisting in the preparation of 9 false federal income tax returns.

Florida Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Related Identity Theft

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

New Jersey Man Sentenced for Role in Tax Refund Conspiracy

On November 18, 2011, in Camden, N.J., Jose Adames, of Blackwood, N.J., was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $668,298 in restitution.  Adames had previously been convicted by a jury following an eight-day trial of conspiring to defraud the IRS. His wife, Angelita Adames is awaiting sentencing.  According to documents, statements made in court and the evidence at trial, Jose and Angelita Adames negotiated 102 tax refund checks totaling $668,298 at a Camden check casher.  The IRS was able to trace the refund checks to false 2006 tax returns and discovered that the filers had used Social Security numbers that did not belong to them. The Adameses directed the refunds to be sent to addresses controlled by co-conspirators. The tax returns were prepared using false W-2 forms with New York addresses.  Jose and Angelita Adames received the refund checks from a co-conspirator located in Bronx, N.Y.  Between February and November 2007, Jose and Angelita Adames cashed the checks at Imperial Check Cashing (ICC) in Camden. Angelita Adames cashed three to six refund checks, ranging from approximately $3,000 to $9,000, once or twice a week at ICC – where she paid three employees $100 per check. The three employees circumvented the internal controls at ICC when processing the refund checks, concealing them by entering false names, addresses, or other information that did not correspond with the checks. Most of the checks had New York addresses, so the employees entered New Jersey addresses, because ICC is not allowed to cash out-of-state checks.

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

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

Georgia Man Sentenced on Tax Fraud Conspiracy Charges

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

Indianapolis Man Sentenced for Tax and Unemployment Fraud

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

Florida Woman Sentenced for Conspiring with Florida Prisoner to File False Tax Returns

On October 31, 2011, in Jacksonville, Fla., Jacqueline F. Ferreira, of Pasco County, Florida, was sentenced to 37 months in prison.  Ferreira pleaded guilty on June 28, 2011 to conspiracy to commit tax fraud.  According to the plea agreement, beginning in January 2007 and continuing through June 2009, Ferreira conspired with an inmate at the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida, and others, to defraud the United States by submitting false tax returns with the goal of securing tax refunds to which they were not entitled. More than 350 false tax returns were filed requesting the electronic deposit of a tax refund into bank accounts maintained by Ferreira.  The conspirators filed fraudulent returns seeking in excess of $3 million in refunds.

New Jersey Inmate Sentenced for Preparing False Tax Returns for Fellow Prisoners

On October 27, 2011, in Camden, N.J., Jerry Julian was sentenced to 36 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $214,844 in restitution.  Julian, of Seaside Heights, N.J., previously pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false and fraudulent tax returns. According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Julian admitted that from approximately September 2006 through early 2007, while he was incarcerated at Riverfront State Prison in Camden, he operated a scheme to defraud the IRS by helping other inmates at the prison prepare and file false tax returns designed to trigger tax refunds to which they were not entitled for tax years 2003, 2004, and 2005. Julian told his fellow inmates the federal government paid the prison minimum wage for the prisoners’ labor, that employment taxes were withheld from those amounts, and that the prisoners were entitled to claim a refund of the amounts withheld. In reality, prisoners were paid no more than $5 per day from which no taxes were withheld.  Julian admitted that the filing of the false returns generally resulted in refunds, and that he assisted in preparing and filing approximately 110 tax returns for more than 60 inmates.

Alabama Woman Sentenced in Tax Fraud Case

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

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

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

 

Fiscal Year 2013 - Questionable Refund Investigations 

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