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Examples of Questionable Refund Investigations - Fiscal Year 2013

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.

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.

Texan Sentenced in Tax Refund Conspiracy Case
On September 23, 2013, in Dallas, Texas, Kennedy Githaiga Wanyoike was sentenced to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay $73,638 in restitution. Wanyoike pleaded guilty in October 2012 to one count of conspiracy to file false claims. According to court documents, Wanyoike conspired with others to file fraudulent tax returns with false wages and tax withholding that resulted in false claims. Wanyoike admitted that his role in the conspiracy was to open bank accounts to receive the electronically deposited refunds. Wanyoike opened five bank accounts at various banks in Dallas using an address of a private mailbox in Dallas and listing his employer as “Nova Consultant Services.” He had rented the private mail box and applied for the assumed name of “Nova Consultant Services” by using another person’s Texas driver’s license. The total of deposits made into all five accounts he opened was $91,602.

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.

Missouri Woman Sentenced on Tax Fraud Charges
On September 11, 2013, in St. Louis, Mo., Nancy Cicero, of Kirkwood, was sentenced to 33 months in prison for filing false tax returns claiming over $3 million in refunds. Cicero was convicted in May 2013 of four counts of filing false claims with the IRS. According to testimony presented at trial, Cicero claimed false income tax refunds by submitting income tax returns to which she attached false and fictitious 1099-OID forms for the taxable years 2005 through 2008. On her Forms 1040 for those years, Cicero claimed a refund amount based upon the false federal income tax withholdings that were reported on her false 1099-OID forms. In total, Cicero represented that financial institutions withheld over $3 million in taxes on her 1099-OID forms, thus claiming a refund of over $3 million.

Virginia Man Sentenced for Role in Tax Fraud Scheme
On September 10, 2013, in Richmond Va., Kellian L. James was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $80,289 in restitution to the IRS. James pleaded guilty in June 2013 to conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims. According to the statement of facts, beginning as early as February 2010 and continuing until around May 2011, James and others knowingly conspired to defraud the United States by submitting false claims for income tax refunds for themselves and others. James recruited individuals and obtained their personal information such as names, date of birth, social security number and addresses for use in preparing and filing false federal tax returns for tax years 2009 and 2010.  James and a co-defendant prepared and filed electronically false and fraudulent returns claiming $80,289.  

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.

Mississippi Woman Sentenced for Submitting Fraudulent Tax Returns
On September 6, 2013, in Natchez, Miss., Margaret Turner, of Hermanville, Miss., was sentenced to 12 months and 10 days in prison and three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $122,465 restitution to the IRS. Turner pleaded guilty on March 8, 2012, to  filing false income tax returns. According to court document, Turner prepared and submitted false income tax returns which resulted in the payment of earned income tax credits to which neither she nor the filers were entitled to receive.

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.

Florida Tax Preparer Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On August 29, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Efrain Felipe, of Hallandale Beach, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $17,989 in restitution to the IRS. Felipe pleaded guilty to a two-count information, charging him with making and subscribing a false tax return on behalf of a client, and aiding and abetting.  According to court documents, Felipe operated a tax preparation business and prepared tax returns, falsely claiming that some customers were entitled to a First Time Home Buyers Credit (FTHBC) of $7,500 for properties they did not own or for properties that were purchased years earlier.  Felipe also falsely claimed the FTHBC on his own personal tax return.  

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.

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.

Texans Sentenced in Tax Refund Conspiracy Case
On August 21, 2013, in Dallas, Texas, Shaunthina Daniel Rushing was sentenced to 56 months in prison and ordered to pay $365,626 in restitution jointly with her co-defendant, Tommy Dean Turner. Turner was sentenced in June 2013 to 36 months in prison. Both Rushing and Turner pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file false tax claims. According to court documents, Rushing and Turner conspired with others to file approximately 50 fraudulent tax returns that resulted in more than $400,000 in false claims. The returns included Forms 5405, representing that the taxpayers were entitled to claim a First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. Rushing and Turner opened bank accounts to receive the fraudulent tax refund checks, and disbursed the proceeds among themselves and others.

Man Sentenced for Filing False Claims
On August 19, 2013, in Atlanta, Ga., Arnold Tobias Gervais, of Marietta, Ga., was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $2,832,268 in restitution to the IRS. On January 16, 2013, Gervais pleaded guilty to a Criminal Information charging him with filing false claims for income tax refunds. According to court records, Gervais was convicted in May 2008 and sentenced to 60 months in prison after he submitted a fraudulent tax return in an attempt to obtain a tax refund of more than $600,000 from the State of Georgia. Gervais was incarcerated on that charge from July 13, 2007, through February 26, 2010. On March 16, 2009, while in state custody, Gervais caused his then wife to file a phony 2008 Form 1040 with the IRS. The tax return claimed a $811,073 income tax refund, which Gervais knew to be false. In addition, Gervais filed, or caused to be filed, six more false claims for federal income tax refunds - five in his own name for tax years 2004 through 2009 and one in the name of an acquaintance for tax year 2009. All seven of the returns claimed false wages and federal tax withholding from a fictitious company. The total amount of fraudulent tax refunds that Gervais sought from the IRS was $3,488,135.

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 Utah Resident Sentenced for Filing False Claims for Tax Refunds
On August 8, 2013, in Salt Lake City, Utah, April J. Rampton, formerly of Heber City, Utah, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $230,678 in restitution to the IRS. Rampton was convicted at trial in December 2012 of nine counts of filing false claims for refund. According to the indictment and trial evidence, in July 2011, Rampton filed a false individual income tax return, based on false Forms 1099-OID, which sought a refund of more than $225,000. On these false Forms 1099-OID, Rampton listed items of debt, such as her home mortgage and credit cards, as if the bank or loan holder had withheld the entire amount of her debt as a federal income tax payment. Rampton then began preparing returns for friends, family members, acquaintances and strangers, all using false Forms 1099-OID that sought tax refunds corresponding to their debts.

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.

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Tax Refund Scheme
On July 26, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pa., Larry Ishmael was sentenced to 144 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,751,809 in restitution to the IRS. Ishmael was convicted on March 13, 2013, of committing a series of tax refund schemes that defrauded the United States government. A federal jury found him and his co-conspirators guilty of multiple counts of both conspiracy and filing false claims/tax returns to the IRS.  According to court documents, Ishmael and his co-conspirators solicited claimants whose personal information was used to file false tax returns claiming the Telephone Excise Tax Refund (TETR) in 2007 and the First Time Homebuyer Credit in 2009.  Ishmael and his co-conspirators each received fraudulently obtained refunds.

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.

Pennsylvania Woman Sentenced for Refund Fraud Scheme
On July 9, 2013, in Scranton, Pa., Cheryl N. Cobia, of Williamsport, Pa., was sentenced to 70 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,700 in restitution.  Cobia pleaded guilty to conspiracy and false statements to defraud the United States. According to court documents, between January 2010 and October 2011, Cobia participated in a scheme to file false income tax returns. Cobia and her co-conspirators recruited individuals to provide their names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, employer names and/or identification numbers in order to prepare false Forms W-2. The forms contained names of employers who did not employ the listed workers as well as fabricated amounts of tax withholdings. Cobia and others would then purchase money orders for the individuals with prepaid debit card they received from the IRS. The money orders were for amounts less than the debit cards, thereby enabling Cobia and others to make a profit from the individual’s tax return.

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.

Alaska Woman Sentenced for Role in Tax Refund Fraud Conspiracies
On July 2, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska, Helen Delores Maloney was sentenced to 28 months in prison and ordered to pay $95,568 in restitution. In addition, she was ordered to forfeit $23,160 and pay a money judgment of $17,719. Maloney pleaded guilty in April 2013 to conspiracy to defraud the government regarding false income tax refund claims and mail fraud. According to court documents, Maloney was involved with two conspiracies between July 2009 and January 2012. Both schemes involved co-conspirators and victims who were inmates at correctional facilities. The first conspiracy occurred between July 2009 and May 2011. Maloney and others prepared and submitted approximately 55 false tax returns claiming refunds of over $275,000. The second conspiracy occurred between July 2010 and January 2012. Maloney and others prepared and submitted approximately 21 false tax returns claiming refunds of over $51,000. Maloney submitted change of address forms for 20 victims of the scheme for whom her co-conspirators then submitted false tax returns, causing tax refund checks and other IRS correspondence to be mailed to her residence.

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.

Washington Man Sentenced for Filing False Claim Against the U.S. Treasury
On June 26, 2013, in Seattle, Wash., Fred F. Frink, of Redmond, Wash., was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $827,117 in restitution to the IRS. Frink was charged in September 2012, and pleaded guilty on March 13, 2013 to filing a false, fictitious, and fraudulent claim. According to court documents, in 2009, Frink hired a tax preparer to prepare his 2008 return. The tax preparer calculated the taxes and determined that Frink was owed a refund of $7,413. However, Frink failed to file that tax return. Instead he went to a tax preparation company and provided bogus forms indicating that more than $1 million had been withheld on his behalf. The tax preparation company calculated his tax return using these bogus documents, determining that he was owed $827,117 tax refund. The scheme Frink used is known as the 1099-OID fraud scheme.

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.

Three Defendants Sentenced in Tax Fraud Case
On June 20, 2013, in Jackson, Miss., Stephanie Odoms was sentenced to 37 months in prison, Howard Jackson was sentenced to 46 months in prison, and Shandy Davis was sentenced to 27 months in prison. In addition, all three defendants were sentenced to three years of supervised release. On March 11, 2013, Odoms pleaded guilty to mail fraud, and Jackson and Davis pleaded guilty to structuring. According to court documents, during late 2010 and early 2011, Odoms, Jackson and Davis entered into a conspiracy to defraud the United States by filing false income tax returns totaling more than $115,000. Odoms and Jackson took fraudulent refund checks to a bank where Davis was a teller who cashed the checks for them.

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Tax Refund Scheme
On June 18, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pa., Calvin Johnson Jr. was sentenced to 216 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1.24 million in restitution. Johnson was convicted of conspiracy and filing false claims/tax returns to the IRS in a series of schemes that defrauded the U.S. Government. Johnson was also found guilty of filing false claims while he was on pretrial release. Johnson and his co-conspirators solicited claimants whose personal information they used to file false tax returns claiming the Telephone Excise Tax Refund (TETR) in 2007 and the First Time Homebuyer Credit in 2009.  In addition, he participated in separate schemes to file false tax returns between 2010 and 2012.  Johnson continued his scheme while he was awaiting trial in this case.

Missouri Couple Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On June 17, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo., Joshua Simonson and his wife, Kristen Simonson, of Oak Grove, were sentenced to 151 months and 71 months in prison, respectively. They were also ordered to pay $810,218 in restitution. The Simonsons were convicted by a federal jury on December 5, 2012 for filing false tax returns, mail fraud, money laundering and using fictitious financial instruments. Evidence introduced during the trial revealed that Joshua and Kristen Simonson received refunds for taxes they claimed were withheld on interest income they earned. In reality, they had not earned – or paid tax on – any interest income. None of the banks, creditors or lenders that were listed on their submitted Forms 1099-OID actually issued the fictitious documents. The Simonsons calculated those fraudulent Forms 1099-OID according to an arbitrary formula (they aggregated their debts), which in no way constituted actual interest income. The Simonsons recruited a former tax preparer in California to prepare their tax returns for 2006 and 2007. As a result of their fraudulent claims, the Simonsons received three refund checks totaling $810,218. In an effort to prevent the IRS from seizing the fraudulent refunds, Joshua Simonson concealed the money by moving it among various bank accounts and trusts. In response to the IRS trying to recover the fraudulently issued refunds, Joshua Simonson mailed a package to the IRS containing two signed, fictitious checks totaling more than $1.3 million drawn on the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Ga.

‘Sovereign Citizen’ Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On June 14, 2013, in Tacoma, Wash., Raymond Leo Jarlik Bell, of Yelm, was sentenced to 97 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $705,276 in restitution. Jarlik Bell was convicted in March 2013 of five counts of filing false, fictitious and fraudulent claims, fifteen counts of assisting in filing false tax returns, three counts of mail fraud, and one count of criminal contempt. Jarlik Bell and his wife, Ute Christine Jarlik Bell, are members of the ‘Sovereign Citizen’ movement. Members of the Sovereign Citizen movement profess a belief that both state and federal government entities are illegitimate. According to court records, Jarlik Bell's investigation centered on the filing of false tax returns using a scheme known as OID fraud. Jarlik Bell advised and assisted others in using the scheme. In 2006, Jarlik Bell obtained a tax refund in excess of $30,000 using the scheme. Numerous others who were advised by him also filed for and received fraudulent refunds they did not deserve. In 2005, the courts ordered Jarlik Bell to stop promoting fraudulent tax schemes.  Less than three years later, he was back promoting another massive tax fraud scheme.

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.

Former IRS Worker Sentenced for Extortion and Tax Fraud
On June 11, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pa., Patricia Fountain, a former employee of the IRS, was sentenced to 228 month in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution.  Fountain was convicted on March 13, 2013, of conspiracy and filing false claims/tax returns to the IRS. For abusing her public office, she was also found guilty of extortion under color of official right.  According to court documents, Fountain solicited claimants whose personal information was used to file false tax returns claiming the Telephone Excise Tax Refund (TETR) in 2007 and the First Time Homebuyer Credit in 2009. Fountain also claimed the TETR by filing false tax returns for herself and her co-conspirator, and used one of the claimant’s information to file a false tax return in 2008. In addition, Fountain filed false claims claiming the American Opportunity Tax Credit between 2010 and 2012. For each of the schemes, Fountain charged claimants a cash fee. With respect to her TETR scheme, which Fountain engineered using inside information from the IRS, Fountain warned that she would “red flag” those claimants who received a refund without paying her $400 fee. She then filed amended returns for certain claimants whom she believed had not paid the fee, causing the IRS to demand repayment from them.

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.

Man Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On June 6, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., Nedal Faisal Ahmad was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay a $35,989 money judgment, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct. Ahmad pleaded guilty on March 8, 2013 to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, through his business and through other means, Ahmad negotiated U.S. Treasury checks and reloadable debit cards containing fraudulently obtained tax refunds. Ahmad kept a large portion of the cards’ value as a fee for processing the illegal funds.  Ahmad processed over $60,000 of fraudulently obtained tax refunds through his business. Ahmad was also involved in cashing fraudulent U.S. Treasury checks. The Treasury checks were tax refunds that were fraudulently obtained by others. Beginning in October 2011, Ahmad began sending fraudulent Treasury checks via the United States mail and other delivery services to an individual in New York.  Ahmad further instructed the individual to pay him sixty percent of the funds from the check, while the associate could keep the remaining forty percent.  

Texas Man Sentenced for Tax Refund Conspiracy
On June 6, 2013, in Dallas, Texas, Tommy Dean Turner was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay $365,626 in restitution. Turner pleaded guilty in February 2013 to conspiracy to file false claims. According to court documents, Turner conspired with others to file approximately 50 fraudulent tax returns that resulted in more than $400,000 in false claims. The returns included Forms 5405, representing that the taxpayers were entitled to claim a First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit under the provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Turner admitted that the co-conspirators caused bank accounts to be opened to receive the fraudulent tax refund checks. They obtained and disbursed the proceeds among themselves and others and maintained detailed records and logs that identified the fraudulent tax returns the money received and the disbursement of proceeds.

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 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.

Promoter of Tax Fraud Scheme Sentenced on Conspiracy and Mail Fraud Charges
On May 31, 2013, in Santa Ana, Calif., Arturo Villarreal-Alba, of Whittier, Calif., was sentenced to 96 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a later date. On October 2, 2012, Villarreal-Alba pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and mail fraud. According to court documents, beginning around March 2009, Villarreal-Alba, acting as a promoter, participated with others in a fraudulent OID (Original Issue Discount) scheme that filed false federal income tax returns with the IRS claiming hundreds of thousands in false tax refunds. The OID schemes were conducted through two companies “Old Quest Foundation, Inc.” in Fontana and “De La Fuente Ramirez and Associates” (DLFRA). On March 17, 2010, Villarreal-Alba caused the filing of a fraudulent tax return using fictitious federal income tax withholding in the amount of $668,000, which claimed a false tax refund of $452,572. He also caused a 2009 OID-based tax return claiming a $535,898 refund in 2010. Villarreal-Alba also admitted that between 2009 and 2011, he participated in a vehicle “title-washing” scheme in which he falsely told victims that there was a “special program” wherein vehicles could be paid off and victims would end up owning one or more of the vehicles free and clear. He admitted that he failed to file tax returns and report to the IRS thousands of dollars in income he made between 2009 and 2010 from the tax fraud and vehicle title washing schemes.

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.

Florida Man Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On May 28, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., Carlos Johnson, of Clearwater, was sentenced to 96 months in prison and ordered to forfeit a Cadillac and a Dodge Charger.  Johnson also faces a money judgment of $431,625, the proceeds of the offences.  On February 26, 2013, Johnson pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, from July 2011 through October 2013, Johnson engaged in stolen identity tax refund fraud. More than 170 fraudulent tax returns were electronically filed from his residence during this period.  Johnson was also tied to additional returns based on his use of debit cards containing fraudulently obtained tax refunds.  

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.

California Man Sentenced in Tax Fraud Scheme
On May 17, 2013, in Santa Ana, Calif., Osman Norales, of Rancho Cucamonga, the owner and founder of “De La Fuente Ramirez and Associates” (DLFRA), was sentenced to 87 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $512,471 in restitution to the IRS. On February 22, 2013, Norales and his fellow defendant, Genaro De La Fuente of De La Fuente and Associates, were convicted of orchestrating a tax fraud scheme that illegally sought millions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds. The evidence presented during trial established that Norales was involved with every facet of the fraudulent scheme, including recruiting customers and transmitting millions of dollars by filing false Forms 1099 OID (Original Issue Discount) to the IRS, including one tax refund in the amount of $815,000 and one in the amount of $760,000.  Norales also charged clients up-front fees of approximately $2,500 and a portion of the false refund received by the client. On March 11, 2009,  Norales filed a false 2008 OID-based income tax return for himself, which falsely reported $597,631 in federal income tax withheld and fraudulently claimed a $403,648 refund.  Norales was notified by the IRS in a letter dated May 8, 2009 that his OID based tax return was frivolous. In May 2009, Norales filed a false 2007 OID-based income tax return for himself, which falsely reported $109,984 in federal income tax withheld, fraudulently claiming a $100,916 refund. The evidence at trial showed that Norales mailed the 2007 OID-based income tax return after he received the IRS notification. Norales also attempted to thwart the investigation by responding to the IRS for customers with arguments that had no basis in the law.  In addition, Norales sent three threatening letters to the investigating special agents demanding payment of $20,000,000, then $25,000,000 and $35,000,000 to him in attempts to intimidate them. He also instructed witnesses to lie to the grand jury.

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.

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.

California Woman Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On April 24, 2013, in San Francisco, Calif., Charleszetta Brown, aka Candice Taylor, of Antioch, Calif., was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $318,000 in restitution. Brown pleaded guilty on December 19, 2012 to conspiring to file false tax returns. According to her plea agreement, beginning in June 2008, Brown participated in a scheme to obtain fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS by filing false tax returns. Brown knew the returns were false when she filed them because the individuals whose names appeared on the tax returns did not supply the information used to prepare the returns. In many instances, the person whose name appeared on the return did not give permission to have the tax return filed at all. In order to carry out the scheme, Brown used her own bank account, as well as bank accounts of others involved in the scheme, to receive the fraudulent refunds. Then the money would be withdrawn by the account holder who split the proceeds with Brown. As part of the scheme, Brown was assisted by others who supplied names and bank account information for use in the false filings.

Arizona Woman Sentenced for Fraudulent Tax Return Scheme
On April 19, 2013, in Tucson, Ariz., Shaneika Earline Sims, of Casa Grande, Ariz., was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $403,002 in restitution. Sims pleaded guilty on November 7, 2012 to conspiracy to defraud the government through false claims. According to court document, from March 13, 2010, and continuing through January 28, 2012, Sims and others conspired to defraud the United States government by filing false and fictitious tax returns which wrongly claimed refunds. At least 150 false federal individual income tax returns were filed claiming $548,653 in unjustified refunds. Sims and others prepared the false federal income tax returns. A co-defendant offered to pay various sums of money to people whose identities were used. Some of the identities used were passed to her by an incarcerated co-defendant, including names, social security numbers and dates of birth. Some of the false claims for refunds were filed in the names of inmates in state and local detention facilities. Sims and others electronically submitted the false income tax returns to the IRS. Sims also filed false and fraudulent individual income tax returns in California. At least 86 additional returns seeking $315,264 were linked to Sims through common Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and bank accounts. On January 16, 2013, co-defendant Corleen Ladawn Thompson, of Casa Grande, Ariz., was sentenced to 37 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Thompson’s daughter and co-defendant, Desheray Gulley, was sentenced on April 4, 2013 to 60 months of supervised probation.

Man Sentenced for Inmate Tax Fraud Scheme
On April 18, 2013, in Panama City, Fla., Michael William Joseph, III, formerly an inmate in the Florida Department of Corrections, was sentenced to 63 months in prison for his involvement in an inmate tax fraud scheme. Joseph was also ordered to pay $37,196 in restitution to the IRS and forfeit $29,514 in United States currency as proceeds of his crimes. According to court documents, Joseph pleaded guilty to 41 counts including: conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, filing false claims against the government and theft from the government. Joseph conspired with others to file 81 false claims for tax refunds against the government in the names of 41 inmates incarcerated in Florida Department of Corrections from February 7, 2008, through July 10, 2012. Most of the false refunds were directed to a bank account under the control of Joseph or were sent in checks to the residence of Joseph’s mother.

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.

Georgia Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On April 16, 2013, in Statesboro, Ga., Lequitor Hopkins was sentenced to 71 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $135,504 in restitution to the IRS. Hopkins pleaded guilty in November 2012 to conspiracy to defraud the government by false claims. According to court documents, from February 2008 through August 2008, Hopkins and others conspired to defraud the government by filing false income tax returns for tax years 2006 and 2007.

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.

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 were filed between tax years 2007 and 2009. 

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.

Ohio Income Tax Preparer Sentenced for Claiming False Tax Refunds
On April 9, 2013, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Latrina R. Williams was sentenced to five years of probation including 21 months of house arrest and ordered to pay $152,124 in restitution to the IRS. Williams pleaded guilty on November 7, 2012 to filing false claims for federal income tax refunds. According to court documents, during the 2006 through 2009 tax years, Williams operated an income tax return preparation business from her residence. The majority of the income tax returns she prepared and electronically filed contained fictitious Schedule C’s for small businesses claiming to be child care businesses. Many of the fictitious Schedule C’s only claimed gross receipts, but no expenses. Most of Williams’ clients had little or no legitimate income. By fabricating the Schedule C income, she maximized the claimed Earned Income Tax Credit, resulting in a large income tax refund for her clients to which they were not entitled. Williams had the false income tax refunds deposited either into her bank account or into her associates bank account. The money was withdrawn in cash and her clients were given a portion of their income tax refund.  Williams kept a large portion of the income tax refunds for herself.

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.

Conspirators Sentenced for Their Roles in Tax Refund Scam
On April 4, 2013, in Statesboro, Ga., Annie Hopkins was sentenced to 66 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Kizvwarida Hopkins was sentenced to 52 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Both were ordered to pay $135,504 in restitution to the IRS. Each defendant previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to false claims. According to court documents, the defendants filed false returns and helped others to file false federal income tax returns. Members of the conspiracy recruited individuals to provide their personal information and used other individuals’ personal identification without consent. The conspirators created false Forms W-2 and federal income tax returns for 2006 and 2007, which were filed with the IRS. These filed returns claimed tax refunds to which the recruited individuals and others were not entitled. Members of the conspiracy, received the checks, forged endorsements, negotiated the cashing of the checks and distributed the funds. Members of the conspiracy distributed and kept part of the proceeds.

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.”

California Man Sentenced for His Role in Tax Refund Scam
On March 19, 2013, in San Francisco, Calif., Clexton Ward was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Ward pleaded guilty on August 22, 2012 to one count of conspiracy to file false claims. According to court documents, Ward participated in a conspiracy to file false income tax returns electronically with the IRS. As part of the conspiracy, he gathered and supplied the names, personal identifying information and bank accounts that were used to file the false tax returns. Ward acknowledged that the false tax returns requested that the fraudulent refunds be deposited into various bank accounts controlled by either him or by his co-conspirators, and that he and his co-conspirators split the proceeds from the fraudulent refunds.

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 Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On March 18, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., Russell B. Simmons, Jr. was sentenced to 180 months in prison and ordered to forfeit a 2005 Bentley, more than $100,000 in jewelry, $25,000 cash and more than $118,000 worth of fraudulently obtained tax refunds. Simmons pleaded guilty on December 11, 2012 to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Simmons engaged in tax fraud at his business, Simmons Auto Sales. Simmons was selling vehicles in exchange for United States Treasury checks obtained from the filing of fraudulent federal income tax returns.  The fraudulently obtained Treasury checks that Simmons received were for a much higher value than the sales price of the vehicles sold.  Simmons negotiated the checks and laundered the proceeds through his business accounts.  The investigation also revealed that Simmons filed fraudulent tax returns from his computer located at his business, and maintained a ledger that contained numerous personal identifiers associated with the fraudulent filings.

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 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.  

New York Woman Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns     
On March 8, 2013, in Rochester, N.Y., Dawn White, of Elmira, N.Y., was sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $67,926 in restitution to the IRS. White was convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy and filing false federal income tax returns. According to court documents, White and her sister, Jennifer Ford, filed income tax returns in 2005 and 2006 that contained false wage and tax withholding information. For the 2005 tax year, White submitted an income tax return claiming to have earned $94,000 from General Revenue Corporation with $39,000 withheld in federal taxes. As a result, White claimed a refund of approximately $21,000. In actuality, White earned about $4,000 and had only $325 in taxes withheld. In total, thirteen false tax returns were filed. Jennifer Ford was convicted in January 2012 of conspiracy and filing false income tax returns and is awaiting sentencing.

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.  

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 income 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 for an identity theft tax refund fraud scheme. Co-conspirators then filed fraudulent and unauthorized tax returns seeking refunds using the stolen personal identifying information provided by the defendant.    

Three Sentenced for Scheme to Cash Fraudulent Refund Checks  
On February 21, 2013, in Orlando, Fla., three individuals were sentenced for their roles in a conspiracy to defraud the government.  Eliseo Dela Rosa, of Orlando, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. Ana Torres, of Kissimmee, was sentenced to 24 months probation. Ada Lopez, of Orlando, was sentenced to six months' home confinement as a condition of four years probation.  All three pleaded guilty on November 16, 2012.  According to court documents, Dela Rosa and others fraudulently received IRS refunds and stimulus checks. They then cashed or deposited the checks at a bank where Torres and Lopez worked as bank tellers.  Between May 2007 and July 2008, Dela Rosa took several Treasury checks to Lopez and Torres. Lopez cashed about $244,000 in checks.  Between May 2, 2007, and September 11, 2007, Torres cashed a total of approximately $46,000 in checks.  

Idaho Man Sentenced for Making False Claims to the IRS
On February 20, 2013, in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, Gary Raymond Harvey, of Peck, Idaho, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $ 85,217 in restitution. Harvey pleaded guilty to making false claims for a refund on November 1, 2012. During the fourth day of his trial, Harvey admitted that he knew he was not entitled to the refunds he claims and changed his plea to guilty on ten counts charged in the indictment. According to trial evidence, Harvey filed tax returns for an entity, The Organic Assembly of Circle JB, claiming that the entity was entitled to tax refunds ranging from $8,851 to $54,080, for tax years 2002 through 2010.

Two Missouri Residents Sentenced for Fraudulent Tax Scheme
On February 15, 2013, in Fairview Heights, Ill., Phyllis Bradford and Andre Craig, both of St. Louis, Mo., were sentenced for their roles in a fraudulent tax scheme. Bradford was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $45,740 in restitution. Craig was sentenced to 15 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $5,621 in restitution. According to court documents, Bradford, Craig and others falsely prepared and provided Forms W-2 to friends and relatives for the purpose of enabling them to file false federal income tax returns and receive false federal tax refunds. The W-2 forms were falsified to represent that certain individuals were employees of Masters Touch Cleaning Services, Inc. The W-2 forms also falsely represented wages paid, false federal income taxes withheld, false Social Security taxes withheld, and false Medicare taxes withheld.

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.

Five Individuals Sentenced in Related Tax Refund Schemes
On February 14, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif., five defendants were sentenced for participating in related schemes to manipulate and defraud the First-Time Homebuyer Credit. Tanooa Sparks, of Gardena, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay $338,926 in restitution to the IRS. Sparks pleaded guilty in September 2012 to one count of conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS and two counts of submitting false claims to the IRS. Nadjara Payne, of Inglewood, was sentenced to eight months in prison and ordered to pay $173,358 in restitution to the IRS. Payne pleaded guilty in March 2011 to one count of conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS and one count of use of one or more unauthorized access devices, namely debit card account numbers. Crystal Bennett, of Gardena, was sentenced to four months in prison and ordered to pay $105,353 in restitution to the IRS. Bennett pleaded guilty in November 2010 to conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS. Dontray Greer, of Los Angeles, was sentenced to eight months in prison and ordered to pay $155,000 in restitution to the IRS. Greer pleaded guilty in March 2011 to conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS and possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices. Gina Smith, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced to three years probation, including six months home detention, and ordered to pay $77,253 in restitution to the IRS. Smith pleaded guilty in November 2010 to conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS. According to a sentencing memorandum filed by the defense for Greer, Greer and others used their own personal identifying information and/or that of others to file 2008 tax returns that falsely claimed the First-Time Homebuyer Credit.  The resulting tax return payments were then directed into bank accounts or onto VISA debit cards controlled by the defendants. Greer and others assisted in obtaining personal information from susceptible individuals, some homeless and drug addicted, to manipulate the government’s First-Time Homebuyer Credit program and use the proceeds from their scheme to better themselves and purchase personal items.  Although the defendants and the individuals they recruited never purchased homes, they filed, or assisted in the filing of, tax returns in 2009. The participants who provided the information received between $500 and $1000 for their cooperation in the scheme.

Ohio Woman Sentenced for Tax Crimes
On February 13, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio, Rhoda A. Calloway was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $93,249 in restitution. Calloway pleaded guilty in November 2012 to one count of conspiracy to submit false claims and 34 counts of submitting false claims for the tax years 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Calloway and her co-conspirators executed a scheme to prepare false tax returns for individuals. According to court documents, they recruited claimants who they knew to be unemployed and who did not recently file tax returns. They promised the claimants could obtain government grant money or other “free” government money or jobs upon completion of an application. Instead of signing applications for the promised grant money or free government money, Calloway caused some claimants to unknowingly sign tax returns. False tax returns were filed for the claimants, using fictitious income figures used to maximize the Earned Income Tax Credit, resulting in false tax refunds. Calloway and her co-conspirator obtained the false refunds and used the funds for their personal use.

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.

Illinois Women Sentenced for Fraudulent Tax Scheme
On February 6, 2013, in Fairview Heights, Ill., Angenita M. Smith, of Alton, Ill., was sentenced to 24 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Tammy M. Smith, of Alton, Ill., was sentenced to 26 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Each woman was also ordered to pay $54,317 in restitution. According to court documents, they were charged in July 2012, along with six other individuals, with conspiracy, filing a false federal income tax return and making false statements to IRS Criminal Investigation agents. The convictions stem from the Smiths’ conduct for falsely preparing and providing Forms W-2 to friends and relatives for the purpose of enabling them to file false federal income tax returns and receive false federal tax refunds. The W-2 forms falsely represented that certain individuals were employees of a cleaning services business, as well as falsely represent wages paid, federal income taxes withheld, Social Security taxes withheld, and Medicare taxes withheld. When questioned, both Smiths lied to federal investigators.

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.

Multiple Defendants Sentenced for Federal Tax Crimes
On January 28, and February 1, 2013, in Miami, Fla., multiple defendants were sentenced for their participation in a nationwide conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to multiple counts of filing false claims for tax.
• Michael D. Beiter, Jr., formerly of Coral Springs, Fla., was sentenced to 300 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
• David Clum, Jr., of Whites Creek, Tenn., was sentenced to 293 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
• Christopher Marrero, of Davie, Fla., was sentenced to 180 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
• Dale Peters, of San Mateo, Calif., was sentenced to 144 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
• Penny Jones, of Rigby, Idaho, was sentenced to 144 months in prison and three years of supervised release.   
Beiter, Clum, Marrero, Peters and Jones were also ordered to pay $5,362,039 in restitution to the IRS.  According to court documents, the scheme resulted in filing tax returns for at least 180 clients from 30 different states, requesting more than $160 million in fraudulent tax refunds. The tax returns falsely reported the amount of their personal debt obligations as both income and as federal tax withholding. The fictitious income and withholding was reported to the IRS on Forms 1099-OID.
Two clients of the scheme were also sentenced as follows:  
• On January 28, 2013, John Michael Smith Jr., of Hidden Hills, Calif., was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $208,312 in restitution to the IRS.
• On September 10, 2012, Philip Butcher, formerly of Rogers, Ark., was sentenced to 19 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $542,769 in restitution to the IRS.

Ohio Man Sentenced for Tax and Mortgage Fraud
On January 30, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio, Steven R. Hinz was sentenced to 108 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in tax and mortgage fraud. Hinz was also ordered to pay more than $500,000 in restitution. According to court documents, Hinz promoted a scheme to defraud the United States by filing false federal income tax returns claiming large tax refunds using the so-called “OID process.” The OID process involved the preparation of fictitious IRS Forms 1099-OID, Original Issue Discount, falsely reporting that financial institutions, creditors, and other entities had withheld large amounts of federal income tax on behalf of the defendants and other taxpayers, with respect to non-existent income. Based on these fictitious withholdings, at least 17 false tax returns for the year 2008 were filed with the IRS, claiming false refunds totaling over $3,000,000. Under the scheme, taxpayers recruited by Hinz were to pay 20 percent of their refunds to Hinz and a partner, split equally between them, sometimes referred to as commissions and sometimes labeled as “donations.” In addition, from approximately December 2006 through May 2009, Hinz conducted his real estate business in part through a scheme to defraud two federally-insured banks that provided mortgage loans to the investors. The scheme was carried out through the filing of false mechanic’s liens for work not actually done and the providing of undisclosed down payment assistance to the investors. The scheme was designed to induce the banks to make mortgage loans based on false representations concerning the true price and value of the properties, the sources of down payments, and the disposition of loan proceeds.

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.

Kansas Woman Sentenced for Filing False Claims for Refunds
On January 15, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo., Shirley J. Oyer, of Overland Park, Kansas., was sentenced to six months in prison and three years of supervised release of which six months will be served on home confinement and ordered to pay $92,974 in restitution. Oyer pleaded guilty in September 2012 to filing false claims for tax refunds. According to court documents, Oyer and other conspirators utilized false Forms 1099-Original Issues Discount (OID) as part of a tax refund scheme that was promoted from July 2008 through September 2011. Oyer was a promoter and branch manager and assisted individuals in preparing and filing fraudulent returns claiming $12.4 million in refunds.

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.

Arizona Woman Sentenced for Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns
On January 16, 2013, in Tucson, Ariz., Corleen Ladawn Thompson, of Casa Grande, Ariz., was sentenced to 37 months in prison, three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $403,002 in restitution. Thompson pleaded guilty on November 7, 2012, to conspiracy to defraud the government. According to court documents, from March 13, 2010, and continuing through January 28, 2012, Thompson and others conspired to defraud the government by filing false and fictitious tax returns which falsely claimed refunds. At least 150 false federal individual income tax returns were filed claiming $548,653 in false refunds. Thompson offered to pay money to people whose identities were used. Thompson provided or was provided names, social security numbers and dates of birth to use in filing false federal income tax returns. Some of the identity information used by Thompson belonged to inmates at state and local detention facilities. Thompson and others electronically submitted the false income tax returns to the IRS through the Internet.

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.

Prison Inmate Sentenced for Role in Tax Fraud Scheme
On December 12, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo., Kevin D. Dunham, an inmate at the Western Missouri Correctional Center, was sentenced to 60 months in prison. Dunham pleaded guilty on August 6, 2012, to preparing false tax returns for inmates in 2008 and 2009 while he was incarcerated at the Farmington Correctional Center and the Western Missouri Correctional Center. According to court documents, Dunham obtained inmates’ names and Social Security numbers and created false Forms 1040EZ. Dunham also prepared false Forms W-2 on a typewriter he had in his cell, and filed those false Forms W-2 along with the false Forms 1040EZ. The returns were mailed to inmates’ families outside the prison, who forwarded them to the IRS. The refund checks were then sent to the inmates’ families, who divided the money between themselves, the inmates, and Dunham.

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.

Three Individuals Sentenced for Participation in Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On December 14, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Ralph Armand, of Miramar, Fla., was sentenced to 21 months in prison and two years of supervised release for his participation in a tax refund scheme. On December 7, 2012, Dwayne Solomon, of Hialeah, Fla., was sentenced to 24 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Jude Alcindor, Jr., aka “Junior,” of Miami, Fla., was sentenced on October 5, 2012, to 12 months and one day in prison and two years of supervised release. Alcindor and Solomon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government by filing a false claim.  Armand was convicted of the same charge on September 27, 2012. According to court documents, the defendants conspired to present a false claim to the IRS for a federal income tax refund of $226,930.

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.

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.

Arizona Woman Sentenced for Tax Conspiracy
On November 26, 2012, in Phoenix, Ariz., Anna Christina Andrade was sentenced to 12 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $63,296 in restitution. Andrade pleaded guilty on August 9, 2012 to false, fictitious, and fraudulent claims against the United States. According to the plea agreement, around December 29, 2000, Andrade and others entered into an agreement to use false names to obtain U.S. postal boxes and obtain fraudulent federal income tax refunds. Andrade admitted to opening the postal boxes and completing a number of false returns claiming erroneous refunds.  Andrade admitted that a total of $63,296 in false refunds was obtained during the course of the conspiracy.

Colorado Man Sentenced for Fraud and Tax Conspiracy
On November 20, 2012, in Denver, Colo., Curtis L. Morris, of Elizabeth, Colo., was sentenced to 120 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,916,831 in restitution to the IRS. Morris was found guilty on April 30, 2012, after a three-week jury trial, of three counts of mail fraud, seventeen counts of filing false claims against the United States, and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. According to the testimony at trial, Morris, Richard Kellogg Armstrong and others conspired to file false federal income tax returns claiming large tax refunds based upon fictitious federal income tax withholdings taken from bogus Forms 1099-OID for themselves and others. Armstrong, of Prescott, Ariz., was sentenced on August 10, 2012, to 108 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  

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.

California Woman Sentenced for $1.3 Million Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On November 14, 2012, in Sacramento, Calif., Tomisha Lee McKinnie, of Sacramento, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $962,079 in restitution. McKinnie was sentenced for her role in a scheme to file false tax returns. According to court documents, McKinnie and co-defendants Nadiyah Muhammad Woods and Nakia Renee Vaughn conspired to defraud the United States by filing false tax returns using TurboTax, a commercial Internet tax-filing service. To obtain money from the false tax return filings, the women used a TurboTax service that loaded debit cards with the tax return money after the return is filed and approved. The defendants had the debit cards and checks mailed to various addresses under their control. In addition to filing fraudulent tax returns, the defendants posed as victim taxpayers to activate debit cards, cash checks, and obtain cash, goods, and services. The scheme involved over 280 false tax returns and over 200 victim taxpayers.  

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.

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.

 

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