Examples of Questionable Refund Investigations - Fiscal Year 2015

The following examples of Questionable Refund Investigations are written from public record documents on file in the courts within the judicial district where the cases were prosecuted.

Two North Carolina Men Sentenced for Conspiracy and Identity Theft
On Sept. 30, 2015, in Raleigh, North Carolina, Christian Rhodes was sentenced to 144 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,036,918 in restitution to the IRS. Rhodes pleaded guilty on May 11 to conspiracy to file false claims and aggravated identity theft. On Aug. 4, 2015, Rhodes brother and co-conspirator, Rodney Wright, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $86,447 in restitution. Rhodes, Wright and others conspired to prepare and file false income tax returns with the IRS. Wright obtained stolen personal identification information of taxpayers and provided this information to Rhodes so that Rhodes, and to a more limited degree Wright, could prepare and file false tax returns that fraudulently claimed refunds. Rhodes also obtained the personal information of taxpayers from other sources, which he used to prepare and file false tax returns. Rhodes and Wright charged taxpayers a fee for preparing false returns. Rhodes deposited the fraudulently obtained refunds into his own bank accounts or the accounts of third parties, including family members and girlfriends. Rhodes also recruited his sister, Virginia Parks-Bert, and Kellian James to join his scheme. Parks-Bert and James pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file false claims with the IRS and were sentenced to serve 42 months and 15 months in prison, respectively. The total intended tax loss of the fraudulent claims filed in this conspiracy was more than $3 million.

Louisiana Resident Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
On Sept. 29, 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Corey Lewis, a/k/a “Coco,” of Hammond, was sentenced 75 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his involvement in a stolen identity tax fraud scheme. Restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be set at a later date. Lewis pleaded guilty on June 23, 2015 to aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit mail fraud and theft of public money. Lewis and his co-defendants conspired to prepare and file false income tax returns using stolen identities, including the victims’ names and social security numbers, to claim large tax refunds. The refund checks were mailed to addresses in Louisiana, including post office boxes that were opened by the co-conspirators. Once the checks were received, Lewis and others falsely endorsed and deposited the refund checks into bank accounts under their control. The co-conspirators then divided the proceeds of the refund checks amongst themselves.

Tampa Woman Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On Sept. 29, 2015, in Tampa, Florida, Tiffani Pye Williams was sentenced to 123 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,533,283 in restitution to the United States Treasury for theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. Williams pleaded guilty on April 23, 2015. From 2010 to 2014, Williams, using various aliases, participated in a scheme to defraud the IRS. As part of the scheme, she and others possessed, transferred, and used the means of identification of others, without their knowledge, to file fraudulent federal income tax returns.  The fraudulently obtained tax refunds were wired from the IRS to reloadable debit cards. Williams and others then used these debit cards at various ATMs and retail stores. Investigators determined that Williams, together with others, filed more than 1,000 fraudulent tax returns using the stolen identities of approximately 991 individuals, many of whom were deceased at the time of filing.  In filing these false returns, she and others claimed more than $5.3 million in refunds, and received approximately $1.5 million. Williams’ alleged co-conspirator, Bobby Muhammad, was charged separately with conspiracy, theft of government property, and identity theft. His trial is scheduled in November 2015.

California Man Sentenced for Defrauding State’s Unemployment Insurance System and Tax Fraud
On Sept. 28, 2015, in Los Angeles, California, Carl Artis was sentenced to 80 months in prison and ordered to pay $598,000 in restitution. Artis pleaded guilty in February 2015 to one count of mail fraud and one count of making false claims against the United States government. From at least August 2010 through August 2014, Artis operated a scheme to defraud the California Employment Development Department (EDD) of unemployment insurance benefits. To execute the scheme, Artis registered fictitious companies with the EDD, submitted false wage information for individuals whom he falsely claimed worked for these companies, and then fraudulently applied for and obtained unemployment insurance benefits in the names of these individuals. In addition, from at least April 2011 until July 2013, Artis engaged in a scheme to defraud the IRS by submitting fraudulent tax returns that sought tax refunds. In the tax fraud scheme, Artis used the identities of many of the same individuals and businesses used in the EDD scheme.

Ringleader of $24 Million Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Ring Sentenced
On Sept. 25, 2015, in Montgomery, Alabama, Keisha Lanier, of Newnan, Georgia, was sentenced to 180 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $5,811,406 for her role as the ringleader of a stolen identity tax refund fraud conspiracy. Between January 2011 and December 2013, Lanier and co-conspirator, Tracy Mitchell, led a large-scale identity theft ring that filed more than 9,000 false individual federal income tax returns that claimed more than $24 million in fraudulent claims for tax refunds. The IRS paid out close to $10 million in refunds on these fraudulent claims. The defendants obtained the stolen identities from various sources, including from the U.S. Army, several Alabama state agencies, a Georgia call center and employee records from a Georgia company. Mitchell worked at the hospital located at Fort Benning, Georgia, where she had access to the identification data of military personnel, including soldiers. She stole the personal information of soldiers and used that information to file false tax returns. Ten co-conspirators were previously sentenced for their roles in this conspiracy with sentences ranging from 159 months in prison to two years of probation.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Role in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme
On Sept. 22, 2015 in Miami, Florida, Ashley Monique Leroy, of Davie, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay $191,678 in restitution to the IRS. Leroy previously pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. On Sept. 17, 2012, police officers from the Miramar Police Department arrested Leroy for possession of marijuana and other traffic infractions. After her arrest, officers conducted an inventory search of her vehicle and recovered a blue notebook that contained hundreds of personal identifying information as well as information explaining how to file income tax returns.

Florida Residents Sentenced in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Sept. 14, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Kiesha Adderly Mitchell, of Miami, was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $219,721 in restitution. On Aug. 20, 2015, Melissa Pearl Davis was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $219,721 in restitution. Both Mitchell and Davis previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims and aggravated identity theft. In 2009 the defendants applied for Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) in the name of corporate or fictitious entities they controlled. The defendants used those EFINs to submit false and fraudulent federal income tax returns to the IRS, using the names and Social Security numbers of other individuals, without the taxpayers’ authority. After the tax returns were received by the IRS, various financial institutions would authorize the defendants to load onto debit cards refund anticipation loans in the names of taxpayers whose names and Social Security numbers were used to file the false and fraudulent tax returns. The defendants then withdrew the unlawfully obtained tax proceeds from the debit cards for their personal use. The total intended loss from the defendants’ false and fraudulent filings of unauthorized income tax returns was over $400,000.

New York Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On Sept. 11, 2015, in Buffalo, New York, Kalah Bishop was sentenced to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $416,192 to the Internal Revenue Service and $18,872 to New York State. Bishop was previously convicted of access device fraud. Beginning in 2012, Bishop and her associates filed fraudulent federal and New York State income tax returns for more than 49 individuals. The tax refunds were deposited onto debit cards, which were then used by Bishop and her associates to make purchases and withdraw cash. The tax refunds received by the defendant and her associates totaled $435,064.

Jacksonville Women Sentenced For Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Aggravated Identity Theft
On Sept. 3, 2015, in Jacksonville, Florida, two women were sentenced for conspiracy to defraud the United States and aggravated identity theft. Laura Butler was sentenced to 25 months in prison and Cherica Daniels was sentenced to 18 months in prison. In 2011, Butler worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida and had access to personal identifying information. During her employment, she accessed several subscribers’ identities and later used them to file false and fraudulent income tax returns. Daniels also participated in the scheme to prepare and file false and fraudulent tax returns. During her initial encounter with law enforcement, Daniels had a black bag containing more than 200 identities, including more than 15 social security numbers.

Minnesota Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On Sept. 2, 2015, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Matthew Klemmer was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years supervised release, and ordered to pay $106,078 in restitution. On March 9, 2015, Klemmer pleaded guilty to conspiring to prepare and file false individual income tax returns in order to obtain fraudulent income tax refunds. From approximately January 2011 to April 2011, Klemmer and a co-defendant received refunds from income tax returns reporting false or inflated income, false employment, and other false items. Stolen personal identifying information, including names and social security numbers, was used to create the fraudulent tax returns, which included false or inflated withholding information. As part of the conspiracy, the defendants requested the tax refunds be deposited onto debit cards, allowing them immediate access to the cash. The defendants filed more than 30 fraudulent tax returns and received more than $100,000 in refunds.

Florida Resident Sentenced in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Sept. 2, 2015 in Miami, Florida, Kyron Jonathan Nedd, of Miami Gardens was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $64,557 for his participation in a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme involving personal identification information taken from the State of Florida Department of Children and Families database. Nedd previously pleaded guilty to one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, between Feb. 1 and July 18, 2014, fraudulent federal income tax returns for tax year 2013 were filed with the IRS from Nedd’s residence in Miami Gardens. The IRS refunded approximately $64,557 for those fraudulently filed tax returns. On Feb. 12, 2015, a federal search warrant was executed at Nedd’s residence, where agents discovered items containing personal identification information (PII) of hundreds of individuals.  Inside Nedd’s bedroom, law enforcement found a safe with numerous debit cards and computer-generated printouts from the State of Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) database. It was later determined that there were numerous instances in which the PII contained on the DCF printouts were used in fraudulent returns filed from Nedd’s residence. Nedd admitted to law enforcement that he electronically filed the income tax returns from his house and that the returns were false and prepared without the taxpayers’ permission.

Former Miami Dade College Employee Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme
On Sept. 1, 2015 in Miami, Florida, Michelson Jeancy, a former Miami Dade College (MDC) employee, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $19,083 for his participation in an identity theft tax fraud scheme. Jeancy worked at MDC as a Student Services Assistant. As part of his regular employment, the defendant had access to student records, which contained personal identifying information (“PII”).  Between February 2013 and June 2104, the defendant stole the PII of current and former MDC students. Using the students’ PII, the defendant and his accomplices filed fraudulent tax returns.

Alabama Woman Sentenced For Role in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Ring
On Sept. 1, 2015, in Montgomery, Alabama, Lasondra Miles Davis, of Phenix City, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,941 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Davis’ mother, Teresa Floyd, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of aggravated identity theft.  Floyd is set for sentencing in October. Between March 2011 and May 2014, Davis and Floyd operated several tax preparation businesses in the Phenix City area, including T & L Tax Service. Davis obtained stolen identities that Floyd used to file more than 900 false federal income tax returns that claimed more than $2.5 million in tax refunds. Davis, Floyd and others caused the fraudulently obtained refund checks to be cashed at several businesses in Alabama and Georgia.

Former IRS Employee Sentenced for Wire Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme
On Aug. 26, 2015, in Austin, Texas, Kenneth Goheen, a former IRS employee, was sentenced to 24 months and one day in prison and three years of supervised release.  In addition, Goheen was ordered to pay $104,292 in restitution and to forfeit $15,442. Goheen, a former Tax Examining Technician, wrongfully obtained identification information from Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) applicants and used it to file more than 50 fraudulent tax returns between March 2013 and January 2015. Goheen collected over $120,000 in refunds based on those fraudulent tax returns.

Florida Man Sentenced for Identity Theft
On Aug. 26, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Alexander Paul was sentenced to 31 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $18,469 in restitution. From Feb. 2, 2014 to May 20, 2014, 53 tax returns were filed from Paul’s residence claiming federal tax refunds of $109,322. During a search warrant executed at the defendant’s residence, law enforcement found and seized evidence relating to identity theft and the filing of false tax returns. Personal identification information of other individuals was found in a notebook, computer, and two cellular telephones. The computer also contained copies of tax returns filed in the names of other individuals.

Georgia Residents Sentenced for Identity Theft and Tax Return Scam
On Aug. 25, 2015, in Brunswick, Georgia, Aquilla Terrell Randolph, of Jesup, was sentenced to 68 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $283,456 to the IRS after pleading guilty to his role in an identity theft and tax return scam. Randolph’s co-conspirator, Edward C. Jennings, also of Jesup, was sentenced to nine months in prison on July 30, 2015. Randolph stole the identities of numerous individuals and filed about 35 fraudulent tax returns, which resulted in fraudulent refund payments totaling over $280,000. Jennings assisted Randolph by allowing refund checks to be mailed to his residence and later cashing at least one fraudulently obtained refund check.

Texans Sentenced for Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Aug. 25, 2015, in Houston, Texas, two defendants were sentenced for their participation in a scheme to obtain tax refunds in the names of others. Carey Jermaine Johnson, aka Jermaine Johnson, of Houston, was sentenced to 28 months in prison and ordered to pay $705,323 in restitution. Tarmera Renee Wyckoff, aka Toni Wyckoff, 39 of Richmond, was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $472,591 in restitution. A third defendant, Cheryl Reed Johnson, aka Shawnee Reed and Cheryl Reed, of Humble, will be sentenced at a later date. The defendants electronically submitted false federal tax returns in the names of numerous individuals, each of which falsely claimed tax credits that resulted in a refund. The defendants directed most of those refunds into their bank accounts or those of their co-conspirators. The co-conspirators claimed more than $2,261,000 in false first time home buyer credits on the 2008 returns filed with the IRS. Those fraudulent claims resulted in the defendants and their co-conspirators claiming more than $2,329,000 in fraudulent refunds.

California Woman Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On Aug. 24, 2015, in Riverside, California, Angelique Mobley, of Desert Hot Springs, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay approximately $77,000 in restitution to the IRS. Beginning around January 2011 and continuing through at least November 2012, Mobley conspired to defraud the United States by devising a scheme to steal, or otherwise obtain, the names and social security numbers of living and deceased individuals. Mobley then used that information to file 73 false tax returns claiming approximately $89,808 in fraudulent refunds from the IRS using TurboTax. Mobley used the fraudulently obtained tax refunds for her own personal use, including the purchase of narcotics.

Texas Man Sentenced for Role in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
On Aug. 24, 2015, in Dallas, Texas, Reminco Zhangazha was sentenced to 93 months in prison and ordered to pay $2,648,334 in restitution. Zhangazha’s co-defendant, Tonderai Sakupwanya, was sentenced earlier this year to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in restitution. The restitution is payable jointly by the two defendants. In addition, the defendants will forfeit $10,613 cash seized from Zhangazha’s vehicle; $93,513 cash from an apartment in Dallas; and $4,500 from a residence in Plano, Texas. Zhangazha and Sakupwanya engaged in a scheme to defraud the IRS by obtaining stolen tax refunds that were generated by e-filing false and fraudulent income tax returns. The defendants rented private mailboxes in the names of aliases by using forged United Kingdom passports. They then established bank accounts using the alias names and mailing addresses acquired at the private mailboxes. The Forms 1040 directed the IRS to electronically deposit refunds into bank accounts the defendants established. Alternatively, the Forms 1040 directed refunds to be issued by a treasury check and mailed to an address under the control of the defendants. The income tax returns also directed refunds to accounts established at a third-party financial services company that would enable them to issue a check containing the tax refund. These third party checks and the treasury checks were deposited into bank accounts the defendants established. After the checks were deposited, or the tax refunds were electronically deposited, the defendants would withdraw the funds for their own use and benefit.  

California Man Sentenced for Role in Tax Fraud Scheme
On Aug. 21, 2015, in Oakland, California, Paul Lamont Lee, of Oakland, was sentenced to 42 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $269,895 in restitution. On March 13, 2014, Lee was charged, along with his former girlfriend, Akysha Rockwell, of Oakland, in a 20-count indictment. Between Jan. 12, 2012, and July 16, 2012, Lee and Rockwell participated in a scheme to obtain, and help others obtain, refunds from the IRS based on false claims. Lee and Rockwell obtained the personal identifying information of numerous people and then electronically filed federal income tax returns in the names of these other people. The defendants claimed refunds derived from false tax credits, including the Earned Income Credit, the Additional Child Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Credit. Rockwell was sentenced June 16, 2015 to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $285,034 in restitution.

Two Florida Residents Sentenced for Roles in Identity Theft Scheme
On Aug. 18, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Rigo Octavio Lopez and Luis Daniel Lopez Morales were each sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $49,902 in restitution. Between Jan. 31, 2014 and July 8, 2014, a total of 494 fraudulent income tax returns for tax year 2013 were filed with the IRS from the defendants’ home in North Miami. The fraudulent returns claimed approximately $237,092 in tax refunds. On Feb. 11, 2015, a federal search warrant was executed at the home of Lopez and Lopez Morales. Federal agents recovered dozens of items containing personal identifying information (PII), including handwritten ledgers with account and PIN numbers, handwritten documents with names and dollar amounts, numerous pre-paid debit cards, lists from the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, and printouts of “Student Information” from the Miami-Dade Public School system. The school printouts contained the PII of current or former Miami-Dade students. Some of the PII listed in the printouts corresponded with fraudulent income tax returns that had been filed.

Three Defendants Sentenced In Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
On Aug. 13, 2015, in Tampa, Florida, three individuals were sentenced for their roles in a conspiracy to commit stolen identity refund fraud between 2012 and 2013. Marcus Lowe, of Tampa, was sentenced 42 months in prison; Tedrick Randall, of Bradenton, was sentenced to 37 months in prison, and Rachel Kerley, of Bradenton, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. Each defendant was also ordered to pay a money judgment in the amount of $15,457, which represented the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct. Randall and Kerley pleaded guilty in April 2015, and Lowe was found guilty on May 1, 2015, after a jury trial. According to court documents, Lowe worked for the Manatee County Parole Services Division at the Manatee County Jail and, as such, had access to the jail booking sheets. These booking sheets contained personal identification information relating to the inmates, including their names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers. Lowe provided that information to Randall and Kerley, who then used the data to file false and fraudulent income tax returns seeking tax refunds in the names of those inmates. The conspirators filed income tax returns seeking a total of approximately $72,254 in tax refunds from the IRS.

Wisconsin Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On Aug. 13, 2015, in Madison, Wisconsin, Haroun B. Omar was sentenced to 66 months in prison and ordered to pay $561,515 in restitution to the United States for conspiring to impede the IRS, stealing government funds by converting tax refunds, fraudulent use of debit cards, and aggravated identity theft. From August 2011 to April 2014, Omar obtained individuals’ personal identifying information and conspired to use the information to prepare false federal income tax returns requesting tax refunds in the names of the individuals. The fraudulently obtained tax refunds were, at times, placed on prepaid debit cards that were then used by Omar and his co-conspirators to obtain cash and to make purchases. In just one 96-day period in late 2011, Omar used 28 different debit cards, each containing a tax refund based on a false tax return, to withdraw more than $200,000 from multiple ATMs in the Madison area and Kentucky. He also recruited individuals in Madison to file false returns and he shared in the resulting tax refunds.

Florida Man Sentenced for Stolen ID Theft Scheme, Obstruction of Justice
On Aug. 11, 2015, in Richmond, Virginia, Eddie Blanchard, of Miami, Florida, was sentenced to 204 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $568,625 in restitution for his role in a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme. Blanchard participated in the Miami-based scheme with three confederates, Ramoth Jean, Junior Jean Merilia, and Jimmy Lord Calixte. The men travelled repeatedly to Richmond in the early part of 2012 and used stolen personal identifying information (PII) to file hundreds of fraudulent tax returns, utilizing online tax preparation programs. The men claimed significant refunds on the fraudulent returns and requested the refunds be placed on pre-paid debit cards, which were later mailed to Richmond addresses selected by the conspirators. The scheme began to unravel when a Henrico County police officer encountered Jean removing a box containing stolen PII from a storage unit rented by the co-conspirators. Following Jean’s subsequent arrest on June 20, 2013, Blanchard convinced him to mislead federal investigators about the identity of his actual co-conspirators, going so far as to facilitate the creation of a fictional accomplice. Jean ultimately refused to testify before a federal grand jury about this matter. Jean was sentenced on Jan. 9, 2014 to 114 months in prison and subsequently sentenced to an additional eight months on a separate contempt charge for his refusal to testify before the grand jury. Merilia was sentenced on June 19, 2015 to 133 months in prison for his role in the fraud scheme and the subsequent obstruction of justice. Calixte is currently a fugitive.  

Tennessee Man Sentenced for Filing False Income Tax Returns
On Aug. 11, 2015, in Knoxville, Tennessee, James Glenn Collins Jr. was sentenced to 84 months in prison and ordered to pay $150,464 in restitution to the IRS jointly with Tenna Allison, James Scott Huskey, Natosha Nicole Cooper and Mona Griffith. While incarcerated in a Tennessee correctional facility, Collins was able to obtain personal identifying information on numerous individuals and used this information to create and file fraudulent tax returns. Collins employed the use of friends and family to receive the refund checks and cash them. Others involved in this conspiracy include: Tenna Allison, who was sentenced to five years of probation; James Scott Huskey, who was sentenced to five years of probation; Natosha Nicole Cooper, who was sentenced to six months in prison and six month of house arrest, followed by three years of supervised release; and Mona Griffith, of Nesbit, Mississippi, who was sentenced to three years of probation.

North Carolina Man Sentenced For Submitting Fraudulent Tax Refund Claims
On Aug. 11, 2015 in Greenville, North Carolina, Aki D. Stanley, of Raleigh, was sentenced to 45 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $378,834 in restitution to the IRS. Stanley engaged in a scheme to prepare and file fraudulent federal tax returns in the names of others, including homeless individuals in Raleigh from whom Stanley obtained personal identifying information. The returns that Stanley unlawfully prepared and submitted to the IRS claimed false tax refunds totaling $487,359.

Former Missouri Woman Sentenced for $454,000 Tax Scheme
On Aug. 11, 2015, in Kansas City, Missouri, Chiquita Tyler, also known as Chiquita Robinson, of Wylie, Texas, formerly of Kansas City, was sentenced to 84 months in prison and ordered to pay $343,889 in restitution. Between February 2010 and February 2011, Tyler prepared and filed false income tax returns using false and stolen Social Security numbers for approximately 70 individuals in a scheme to receive $454,363 in refunds. Tyler told numerous individuals that she was a tax preparer to obtain their personal information, prepared and electronically filed false income tax returns through Turbo Tax. She created false wages, false education expenses, false addresses and false occupations for the false income taxes she prepared. Some tax returns contained false dependents. Tyler directed the refunds from the false returns be deposited on a prepaid debit card mailed to Tyler at her home address and other locations in Kansas City, Missouri.

Eight Defendants Sentenced in $24 Million Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Ring
On Aug. 7, 2015, in Montgomery, Alabama, eight residents of Alabama and Georgia were sentenced for their roles in a $24 million stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF) conspiracy. Sentenced were:

•Tracy Mitchell, of Phenix City, Alabama, was sentenced to 159 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a forfeiture judgment in the amount of $329,242, which was seized in cash from her residence;
•Talarius Paige, of Phenix City, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $762,512 in restitution to the IRS;
•Mequetta Snell-Quick, of Columbus, Georgia, was sentenced to 24 months and one day in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $199,471 in restitution to the IRS;•Latasha Mitchell, of Phenix City, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $513,821 in restitution to the IRS;
•Dameisha Mitchell, of Phenix City, was sentenced to 65 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $440,176 in restitution to the IRS;
•Sharonda Johnson, of Phenix City, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $440,176 in restitution to the IRS;
•Patrice Taylor, of Midland, Georgia, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $28,783 in restitution to the IRS; and
•Cynthia Johnson, of Phenix City, was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $5,047 in restitution to the IRS.

Keisha Lanier, of Seale, Alabama, will be sentenced at a later date. Between January 2011 and December 2013, Lanier and Tracy Mitchell led a large-scale identity theft ring in which Lanier, Tracy Mitchell and their co-defendants filed more than 9,000 false individual federal income tax returns claiming more than $24 million in fraudulent claims for tax refunds. The IRS paid out close to $10 million in refunds on these fraudulent claims. The defendants obtained the stolen identities from various sources, including the U.S. Army, several Alabama state agencies, a Georgia call center and employee records from a Georgia company. In order to file the false tax returns, the defendants obtained several IRS Electronic Filing Numbers in the names of sham tax businesses. The defendants then applied for bank products, to include blank check stock. The defendants directed the IRS to pay the anticipated tax refunds to prepaid debit cards, by U.S. Treasury checks and to financial institutions, which in turn issued the tax refunds via prepaid debit cards or checks. When the refunds were sent through the financial institutions, the defendants simply printed out the refund checks from the check stock that had been sent to their homes. After the financial institutions stopped the defendants from printing out the tax refund checks, the defendants recruited U.S. Postal Service employees. The corrupt postal employees gave the defendants specific addresses along their postal routes for mailing the U.S. Treasury checks. Once the checks came to the address, the postal employees took the checks and turned them over to the defendants for a fee. The scheme also involved a complex money laundering operation. Almost $10 million in fraudulent tax refund checks were cashed at several businesses located in Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky.

Former Accountant Sentenced for Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme
On Aug. 7, 2015, in Oakland, California, Robert Thomas Doyle, was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and pay $142,031 in restitution. Doyle pleaded guilty on Feb. 23, 2015, to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. During 2011, 2012, and 2013, Doyle implemented an identity theft and tax fraud scheme in which he caused the filing of a number of tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds. As part of his scheme, Doyle, a former certified public accountant, created false businesses and claimed false income and expenses for his clients in order to maximize the Earned Income Tax Credit. The fraudulent income and expenses led to a larger-than-allowed claimed refund. Doyle did not ask his clients about any income earned or current or past employment history. Doyle also used the names and social security numbers of former clients to prepare and file false tax returns without these victims' knowledge or consent. On many of the tax returns, Doyle directed the refunds to be mailed to addresses where he could retrieve them or have the refunds electronically deposited into bank accounts that he controlled.

Arizona Woman Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Case  
On Aug. 5, 2015, in Utica, New York, Elaine Monique Zavalla-Charres, of Winslow, Arizona was sentenced to 72 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $411,309 in restitution to the IRS. From 2011 through 2013, co-defendant Lacey Hollinger, of Massena, New York, contacted Massena area residents via Facebook and other electronic media to tell them they were eligible for a tax refund, even though they were unemployed and had no income, as part of a U.S. Government “stimulus program.” No such program existed. Several dozen people responded and gave Hollinger their personal identifying information. Hollinger forwarded this information to Charres, who used it to create false and fraudulent tax returns that, with others obtained from Arizona residents, generated over $400,000 in tax refunds. Charres, Hollinger, and others involved in the fraudulent scheme stole these funds after they were electronically deposited in bank accounts in Arizona. The Massena area residents never saw the fraudulent tax returns. Some received pre-paid debit cards that Charres directed to them but many got nothing, as Charres and Hollinger kept most of the refund money. Hollinger was sentenced on May 22, 2015 to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution.

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Submitting False Tax Refund Claims
On July 30, 2015, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Mitchell Orewiler, of Adams County, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $324,000 in restitution. Orewiler pleaded guilty to filing false claims with the IRS. In April 2009, Orewiler filed amended 2006 and 2007 Federal Income Tax returns and a 2008 Federal Income Tax return. Based on false 1099 forms, Orewiler attached to these three returns, Orewiler made a claim to a refund amount of approximately $506,000. As a result, he received approximately $324,000 from the IRS to which he was not entitled.

Georgia Woman Sentenced for Filing Over 180 False Tax Returns
On July 28, 2015, in Columbus, Georgia, Danielle Wallace, of Columbus, was sentenced to 65 months in prison and ordered to pay $100,186 in restitution. Wallace pleaded guilty on May 5, 2015 to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and filing false income tax returns. Wallace filed over 180 fraudulent tax returns between Jan. 1, 2014 and March 24, 2014. During this time, Wallace was employed by Blue Cross/Blue Shield fielding telephone calls from customers. She would obtain personal information from the customers during the calls and then file false income tax returns through “Simple Cash 1,” a tax preparation business she owned and operated in Columbus for the sole purpose of filing false claims.

Final Defendants Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
On July 27, 2015, in Houston, Texas, Jason Maclaskey, of Spring, and Omar Butt, of Brooklyn, New York, were sentenced for their roles in a scheme to steal identities and file fraudulent federal tax returns. Maclaskey was sentenced to 120 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Butt was ordered to serve 40 months in prison. A third defendant, Heather Dale, of Grant, Alabama, was previously sentenced to 24 months in prison. The court also ordered them to pay $314,868 in restitution. The  defendants unlawfully obtained the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers from 371 taxpayers and used this information to file false tax returns in 2009. The defendants also used this information to set up fraudulent bank accounts and directed the tax refunds to be sent to debit cards in the taxpayers’ names. The defendants then withdrew this money using the debit cards at ATMs and by making purchases at various retail stores. Through this conspiracy, the defendants claimed a total of more than $1.4 million in false tax refunds, succeeded in withdrawing more than $300,000 before the scheme was uncovered.

Two Floridians Sentenced In Tax Refund Scheme
On July 22, 2015, in Tallahassee, Florida, Dorothy Jean Bailey and Phillip Walker III, of Tampa, were sentenced to 110 months and 48 months in prison, respectively, for conspiracy, wire fraud, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft in connection with the filing of false federal income tax returns. They were also ordered to pay $475,402 in restitution. Bailey and Walker were the last of five defendants to be sentenced in the case. The defendants admitted that, between 2011 and 2014, they conspired with co-defendants  Darren Christopher Royal, Cedric William Page and Gabriela Gloria Huerta, all of Tallahassee, to file approximately 335 fraudulent federal income tax returns seeking more than $3.4 million in tax refunds. To prepare these returns, the conspirators used personal identification information (PII) stolen from about 662 individuals. The group obtained the PII from criminal court records in Texas, from tenant records maintained by apartment complexes in Tallahassee, and from deceased victims. Bailey, Walker and Royal also filed fraudulent returns in their own names. Royal, Page and Huerta were previously sentenced for their roles in the scheme.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud and Making False Statements to HUD
On July 17, 2015, in Tampa, Florida, Ronika Paris was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay $70,873 in restitution to the IRS and to pay a money judgment of $17,979, the proceeds of the fraudulent tax refunds. Paris pleaded guilty on April 14, 2015 to wire fraud, aggravated identity fraud, and making false and fraudulent statements to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Paris obtained and used the stolen personal identifying information of more than 60 individuals to file false tax returns and open pre-paid debit cards. From May 2013 through September 2013, Paris filed false tax returns claiming approximately $446,554 in refunds. Many of the victims were elderly and lived out of state. In February 2013, Paris made false and fraudulent statements to HUD and the Tampa Housing Authority on her subsidized housing disclosure forms.  

Georgia Pastor Sentenced for Role in Tax Fraud Scheme
On July 9, 2015, in Savannah, Georgia, Xavier Franklin Lewis, former pastor of the Holy Ghost Praise and Deliverance Ministries, was sentenced to 119 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $163,602 in restitution. A jury found Lewis guilty of 22 counts in 2014, including submitting false claims to the IRS, theft of public money, aggravated identity theft, operation of unlicensed money transmitting business and bank fraud. Lewis used a number of separate bank accounts he controlled, including three accounts opened in the name of his church, to negotiate over 90 government-funded tax refund checks. Lewis obtained the checks after they were either generated as the result of submitting a fraudulent income tax return with the IRS or were generated at the legitimate request of a taxpayer, but stolen from the mail before it reached the taxpayer. In total, Lewis fraudulently negotiated nearly $250,000 worth of government-funded checks.

Arizona Resident Sentenced for Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme  
On July 8, 2015, in Tucson, Arizona, Scott William Acorn, of Nogales, Arizona, was sentenced to 78 months in prison and ordered to pay $415,000 in restitution. Acorn pleaded guilty on March 31, 2015, to conspiracy, filing a false claim for refund, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Acorn and his co-defendant acquired the personal identification information of approximately 1,117 individuals. Using this information, they electronically filed false tax returns for these individuals seeking refunds of about $1,000 on each return. The individuals whose information was used were unaware of the returns being filed in their name. For tax years 2010 and 2011, the conspirators sought over a million dollars in fraudulent refunds which resulted in a payout of $414,000 by the United States Treasury. Acorn’s sentence was enhanced by his admission that he fled to Mexico while on pre-trial release in 2012 and continued to file false tax returns in much the same manner as before. In September 2014, he was returned to the United States to face prosecution.

Prison Inmate Sentenced for Lead Role in Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On July 8, 2015, in Sacramento, California, Edwin Ludwig IV, currently an inmate in an Oklahoma state prison was sentenced to 84 months in prison and ordered to pay over $219,000 in restitution for conspiring to defraud the United States and for filing false claims for federal tax refunds. Beginning in March 2011, Ludwig and three fellow inmates in the California Correctional Center in Susanville obtained personal identification information of other inmates at the correctional center. Ludwig then provided the information to co-defendants on the outside who prepared and filed false income tax returns with the IRS, claiming refunds to which the inmates were not entitled. False tax returns also were filed in some of the defendants’ own names. The defendants caused the false refund checks to be deposited to various bank accounts they controlled. The refunds were used for personal expenditures, and included the purchase of prepaid debit cards, and adding money to inmates’ commissary accounts. Some of the proceeds had been used to purchase drugs. In all, the conspiracy resulted in at least 247 false claims for income tax returns in tax years 2008 through 2011. Although the IRS stopped some of the refunds, approximately 138 fraudulent refunds totaling approximately $219,984 were issued.

Georgia Residents Sentenced for Filing Fraudulent Income Tax Returns
On July 2, 2015, Atlanta, Georgia, Phyllis Grant, of Decatur, Georgia, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, three years of supervised release, ordered to pay a $100 special assessment and $770,231 in restitution. Grant was found guilty by a jury trial on March 12, 2015 for conspiring to defraud the United States by filing bogus income tax returns using stolen identities. Grant conspired with Rodney Henry and Tony Lamar Watkins to use stolen identities to file federal income tax returns. Henry filed the tax-returns, which sought more than $1.9 million in refunds. Watkins assisted in the scheme by retrieving refund checks from mailboxes, forging signatures on the checks, withdrawing refunds from debit cards and bringing checks to locations where they would be cashed. Grant opened two mailboxes for their scheme in Mableton, Georgia, and one in East Point, Georgia. Grant also provided Henry with some of the identities he used on the returns. Henry, of Atlanta, was sentenced on May 20, 2015, to 94 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $895,699 in restitution. Henry pleaded guilty to conspiring to file false tax returns and aggravated identity theft on May 22, 2014. Watkins, of College Park, Georgia, was sentenced on May 20, 2015, to 55 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $824,121 in restitution. Watkins pleaded guilty on May 23, 2014 to conspiring to file false tax returns. In all, the trio stole more than $800,000, in the form of fraudulent tax refunds.

Tampa Woman Sentenced for Role in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
On June 30, 2015, in Tampa, Florida, Eneshia Carlyle was sentenced to 138 months in prison and three years of supervised release for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. In addition, Carlyle received a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $1,820,759 and ordered to pay restitution in the same amount. Carlyle pleaded guilty on Nov. 26, 2014. Carlyle conspired with others to use the stolen personal identifying information of more than 7,000 individuals to file false tax returns and open pre-paid debit cards. From an unknown date in 2011, and continuing through November 2013, Carlyle, her husband James Cobb, and others, filed false tax returns claiming approximately $5 million in refunds. During the execution of a search warrant at the home of Carlyle and Cobb, law enforcement officers recovered lists and medical records containing the names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of more than 7,000 victims. The search also recovered more than 300 pre-paid debit cards opened in the names of those victims, as well as documents and computer files containing information on the filing of false tax returns. Many of the victims had their identities stolen from healthcare facilities, ambulance services in Virginia, Georgia, and Texas, a local medical billing company and court records. In addition, a number of deceased victims’ names were obtained from genealogy websites. James Cobb was previously sentenced to 324 months in prison.

New York Man Sentenced on Aggravated Identity Theft and Tax Fraud
On June 29, 2015, in Buffalo, New York, Clifton Jackson was sentenced to 140 months in prison. Following a jury trial, Jackson was convicted of conspiracy to unlawfully use social security numbers, conspiracy for the filing of false tax returns, filing false tax returns, aggravated identity theft, misuse of social security numbers and theft of government property. Jackson devised a scheme to defraud individuals and the United States government by obtaining the names, social security numbers and dates of birth of over 80 individuals and using that information to file fraudulent tax returns for the tax year 2011 with the IRS. Jackson obtained the information by telling individuals that if they provided names, social security numbers and dates of birth, they could receive money from the government. Jackson also recruited other individuals to provide additional names, social security numbers and dates of birth. Over the duration of the scheme, Jackson attempted to defraud the IRS of more than $550,000. Jackson is currently serving a 10-year state sentence in Ohio for a drug conviction.

Last Defendant Sentenced In Stolen Identity and Tax Fraud Scheme
On June 23, 2015, in Statesboro, Georgia, Stacy Williams, of Statesboro, was sentenced to 94 months in prison, three years of supervised and ordered to pay a $600 special assessment and restitution in the amount of $84,940. Williams was convicted by jury trial on Sept. 23, 2014 of conspiracy, wire fraud, wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information and aggravated identity theft. Williams was the last of 15 federal defendants charged in April 2014 for their roles in a large-scale identity theft and tax fraud scheme. With the sentencing of Williams, all 15 defendants have now been convicted and sentenced. In addition to Williams, the other participants convicted and sentenced as part of this prosecution include:
• Aishia Mills, Statesboro, 27 months in prison;
• Angellica Roberts, Claxton, Georgia, 126 months in prison;
• Candace Hills, Claxton, 36 months in prison;
• Chrystal Harlie, Statesboro, 54 months in prison;
• Deondray Richardson, Keysville, Georgia, five years of probation;
• Katrina Beasley, Claxton, 104 months in prison;
• Latasha Charles, Statesboro, 57 months in prison;
• Marquita Watson, Claxton, 18 months in prison;
• Martisha Hill, Augusta, Georgia, 42 months in prison;
• Mary McDilda, Claxton, five years of probation;
• Melissa Whitfield, Statesboro, 40 months in prison;
• Monica Whitfield, Statesboro, 42 months in prison;
• Santana Lundy, Statesboro, 69 months in prison; and,
• Terry Gordon, Swainsboro, 81 months in prison.

Alabama Woman Sentenced for Leading $4 Million Dollar Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Ring
On June 25, 2015, in Montgomery, Alabama, Tamaica Hoskins, of Phenix City, was sentenced to 145 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $1,082,842 in proceeds from the Stolen Identity Refund Scheme she led. Between September 2011 and June 2014, Hoskins, co-conspirators Roberta Pyatt, Lashelia Alexander and others, used stolen identities to file more than 1,000 false federal income tax returns that fraudulently claimed more than $4 million in tax refunds. Hoskins obtained stolen identities from various sources. In order to file the false tax returns, Hoskins and Pyatt obtained two Electronic Filing Identification Numbers using sham tax businesses. On behalf of those sham tax businesses, they also applied to various financial institutions for bank products, such as blank check stock. The conspirators directed the IRS to mail U.S. Treasury checks to addresses under their control and to send the tax refunds to prepaid debit cards and financial institutions where the conspirators maintained and controlled bank accounts using the sham tax businesses. When the tax refunds were deposited into the financial institutions, the conspirators printed the refund checks using the blank check stock and cashed the refunds. In January 2014, Alexander, who worked for a Walmart check cashing center in Columbus, Georgia, was approached by several co-conspirators about cashing fraudulent tax refund checks issued in the names of third parties and in return, Alexander would receive a portion of the refunds. Alexander cashed more than $100,000 in fraudulently obtained third-party refund checks containing forged endorsements. Pyatt pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced in July 2015.

Former Corrections Officer Sentenced For Tax Refund Scheme
On June 24, 2015, in Jacksonville, Florida, Silvester L. Bowens, of Jacksonville, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $41,989 in restitution to the IRS. Bowens pleaded guilty on July 1, 2014 to conspiracy to defraud the United States and for receiving stolen property of the United States, namely tax refunds in excess of $1,000. Between January 2009 and December 2011, while working as a Wellness Director with inmates inside a State of Florida prison, Bowens participated in a tax refund scheme in which he assisted inmates in removing fraudulently filed tax returns from inside the prison. Bowens opened bank accounts in his name to receive the refunds from the fraudulent returns. As a result of the scheme, more than 40 fraudulent tax returns were filed, directing $386,471 into accounts held by Bowens. Bowens is one of six individuals who have pleaded guilty in the scheme. Co-conspirators Tiffani Manning, Christopher Wyant and Tabatha Dubois were previously sentenced. The sentencing hearings for the remaining defendants, Laura Wright and Chad R. Heins, are scheduled for later this year.

Tampa Tax Fraudster Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme
On June 19, 2015, in Tampa, Florida, James Lee Cobb, III, of Tampa, was sentenced to 324 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $1,820,759 in a money judgment and to pay restitution in the same amount. Cobb pleaded guilty on Dec. 1, 2014 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and for being a felon in possession of a firearm as an armed career criminal. Cobb conspired with others to use stolen names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers to file false tax returns and open pre-paid debit cards. He also obtained “burner” phones using stolen identities. From 2011 through November 2013, Cobb and his co-conspirators filed false tax returns claiming approximately $3 million in refunds. During the execution of a search warrant at Cobb’s residence, law enforcement officers recovered lists and medical records containing the personal identifying information of more than 7,000 victims. Many of the victims had their identities stolen from healthcare facilities, including from the James A. Haley VA hospital; the Florida Hospital (formerly known as University Community Hospital); ambulance services in Virginia, Georgia, and Texas; a local medical billing company; and court records. In addition, a number of deceased victims’ names were obtained from genealogy websites. At the time of this offense, Cobb was on supervised release from a prior federal conviction.

Florida Resident Sentenced for State Income Tax Fraud Using Stolen Identities
On June 18, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Earnest Thad Etienne, of North Miami Beach, was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $110,325 in restitution. Etienne previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft. On Sept. 26, 2014, law enforcement executed a state search warrant at Etienne’s residence pursuant to another investigation. During the search, law enforcement officers discovered 15 prepaid debit cards embossed with various individuals’ names, a thumb drive, ammunition, and $7,750 in cash. In addition, law enforcement discovered additional electronic devices and a bank debit card embossed with the name of an individual who did not appear to live in the residence. Subsequent investigation by federal law enforcement revealed that the thumb drive discovered in Etienne’s room contained names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of many individuals with addresses in Ohio. Etienne used at least one of the debit cards found in his residence to withdraw money associated with fraudulent State of Ohio income tax refunds. Between Jan. 14, 2014, and Sept. 26, 2014, Etienne and his co-conspirators caused fraudulent income tax returns to be filed in the State of Ohio seeking tax refunds in amounts ranging between $7,543 and $11,515. The conspirators caused the State of Ohio to pay the fraudulent tax refunds to pre-paid debit cards in other individuals’ names or to a bank account in one of the co-conspirator’s names. Co-defendant Wilbert Champagne, of North Miami Beach, was charged with conspiracy to use unauthorized access devices, use of unauthorized access devices, and aggravated identity theft. Champagne is a fugitive.

Arkansas Man Sentenced for Federal Tax Fraud
On June 17, 2015, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Doyle Smith, of Springdale, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and five years of supervised release. On Feb. 11, 2015, a jury found Smith guilty of four counts of filing a false tax return, corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the administration of the internal revenue laws and presenting a fictitious financial obligation. In 2008 and 2009, Smith submitted four individual federal tax returns for tax years 2005 through 2008, which falsely reported a total of more than $1.4 million in fictitious federal tax withholdings.  Based on these fictitious withholding amounts, Smith claimed a total of $1,021,457 in income tax refunds that he was not entitled to receive. Smith also submitted false claims and correspondence to both the IRS and third-parties in an attempt to cause the IRS and U.S. Treasury to pay his debts to third parties and to obstruct the IRS’ tax administration efforts. For example, in January 2010, Smith mailed to the Department of Arkansas Finance and Administration a fictitious financial instrument titled “U.S. Treasury Trust Account Money Order.” This fictitious document purportedly obligated U.S. Treasury funds in the amount of $129,439 to pay for outstanding sales taxes that Smith owed to the state of Arkansas.

Former New York Resident Sentenced for IRS Tax Refund Scam  
On June 15, 2015, in Syracuse, New York, Anas K. Wilson, a former resident of Utica, was sentenced to 144 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $414,000. Wilson pleaded guilty in November 2014 to theft of government property and aggravated identity theft for his role in a fraudulent tax return scheme. Wilson’s crimes involved electronically filing hundreds of fraudulent U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns on behalf of victims who were not entitled to tax refunds and then directing the tax refunds received to bank accounts he had established in the names of third parties. The investigation revealed that Wilson posed as an IRS employee at times in order to obtain the personal identifying information (including social security numbers and names) of the victims. After refunds were issued for the fraudulent tax returns, Wilson paid others to withdraw the funds from various banks and provide him the money. Wilson was ultimately responsible for submitting fraudulent tax returns to the IRS that resulted in the release of at least $414,000 in false tax refunds by the IRS.

Bus Driver Sentenced in Tax Fraud Scheme
On June 12, 2015, in Oakland, California, Akysha Rockwell was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $285,034 in restitution. Rockwell pleaded guilty on Jan. 16, 2015, to conspiracy to file false claims and filing false claims. During late 2011 and early 2012, Rockwell and her boyfriend prepared and electronically filed fraudulent income tax returns. They targeted people at their church and drug-rehabilitation clinics with the promise of an “Obama Stimulus,” a non-existent government program fabricated to attract clients. The tax returns claimed false income and false occupations, regardless of the information that was provided to them by their clients. They used an identification information form to obtain the identification of actual persons to prepare and electronically file false federal individual income tax returns, claiming fraudulent tax credits and fraudulent tax refunds. Together, the two prepared 116 tax returns in 2012. In addition, even though a majority of the clients were unemployed or disabled with no income, Rockwell filed income tax returns reporting false earned income and false refundable education credits. Rockwell and her former boyfriend received at least $226,903 by filing false and fraudulent tax refund claims. After ending their relationship, Rockwell continued to file numerous false tax returns from her residence in Oakland using the same fake “Obama Stimulus” program to attract victims. She obtained at least $58,131 by filing these false and fraudulent tax refund claims.

Nigerian Citizen Sentenced for Role in $4 Million Tax Fraud Scheme Involving More Than 600 Stolen Identities
On June 10, 2015, in Wilmington, Delaware, James Ekeke, of Smyrna, Georgia, was sentenced to 54 months in prison and ordered to pay full restitution. In February 2015, Ekeke pleaded guilty to false claims conspiracy and access device fraud. Ekeke is a citizen of Nigeria and faces deportation at the conclusion of his prison term. Ekeke and his co-conspirators attempted to obtain more than $4million in taxpayer funds from the Treasury Department by filing false tax returns. Ekeke was personally responsible for purchasing and supplying more than 600 stolen identities to others. He personally filed many fraudulent tax returns and received a significant portion of the proceeds. Ekeke began participating in fraudulent conduct within months of entering the United States, and he continued to participate in tax fraud after one of his co-conspirators was arrested. After the arrest of a co-conspirator, Festus Frimpong, Ekeke changed his telephone number and his internet router, before filing additional false tax returns in 2014. On June 11, 2015, co-conspirator Victor Kwabenda Adofo Asante, a/k/a Victor Asante, formerly of Newark, Delaware, pleaded guilty to false claims conspiracy, and bank fraud conspiracy. His sentencing has been scheduled at a later date.  

Miami College Student Sentenced for Role in Identity Theft Scheme
On June 10, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Ronald Dumond Jr., a/k/a Carltin Swagga Banks, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $63,419 in restitution. Dumond, a Miami Dade College (MDC) student, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, theft of government money and aggravated identity theft. From Aug. 8, 2011 to Sept. 23, 2013, Dumond participated in a tax fraud scheme with Bianca Noel, Mistie Faustin, and others, where the defendants received fraudulently obtained tax refunds in their personal Higher One, Inc. (HOI) accounts. Higher One provided financial services to colleges and universities throughout the United States. Dumond recruited Noel, Faustin, and other MDC students to participate in the tax fraud scheme by offering them a chance to make money if they would allow stolen tax refunds to be deposited into their HOI accounts. The students agreed and provided Dumond with their HOI account numbers and log-in information. Dumond submitted 35 fraudulent tax returns claiming $186,223 in tax refunds and directed the refunds to be deposited into Noel's HOI account; he submitted 26 fraudulent tax returns claiming $73,735 in tax refunds and directed these refunds to be deposited into Faustin's HOI account; and he submitted eight fraudulent tax returns claiming $27,602 in tax refunds and directed these refunds to be deposited into his personal HOI account. From April 1, 2012 through May 30, 2012, Dumond’s HOI account received $3,417 in proceeds from stolen tax refunds from other MDC students' HOI accounts. During a search warrant of Dumond's residence, agents found 4,250 names and social security numbers of real people on electronic devices (computers, CDs, and hard drives) and loose leaf papers. Law enforcement also found files on CDs that contained lists of the MDC students and their HOI account information who participated in the tax fraud scheme. These files also contained lists with the names and social security numbers of victims who had fraudulent tax returns filed using their names and social security numbers and the HOI accounts and other debit cards in which the stolen tax refunds were deposited. The names and social security numbers found were used to file fraudulent tax returns for the tax years 2011, 2012, and 2013. Noel was sentenced on June 1, 2015 to 30 days in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $32,586 in restitution. Faustin was sentenced on April 14, 2015 to two years of probation and ordered to pay $20,819 in restitution.

Correctional Officer Sentenced for Identity Theft and Wire Fraud
On June 8, 2015, in Jacksonville, Florida, Harold Walbey III was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay a $110,756 money judgment. Walbey pleaded guilty on Dec. 18, 2014 to identity theft and wire fraud. Beginning in 2010 and continuing through May 2012, Walbey, in his capacity as a correctional officer at the John E. Goode Pre-trial Detention Facility (PTDF), stole the personal identifying information of unknowing inmates that were housed at the facility. Walbey opened fraudulent debit card accounts and created W-2 forms in the inmates’ names, and filed fraudulent tax returns. From 2010 through 2012, Walbey filed fraudulent tax returns claiming more than $250,000 in fraudulent refunds. He received $110,756 in proceeds as a result of his involvement in this crime.

Georgia Woman Sentenced for False Tax Refund Conspiracy
On June 4, 2015, in Asheville, North Carolina, Yolanda Tiess Kitson, of Hephzibah, Georgia, was sentenced to 72 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $3.9 million in restitution. Kitson conspired with her sister, Senita Dill, and Ronald Jeremy Knowles to file fraudulent tax returns using the personal information of more than 1,000 veterans and family members that Kitson had stolen through her job as a contractor at the Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. Kitson obtained the personal information from patient records and passed it to Dill. Using that information, Dill and Knowles filed over 1,000 false tax returns and received over $3.5 million of stolen U.S. Treasury funds. Dill and Knowles were previously sentenced to 324 and 70 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the conspiracy.  

California Woman Sentenced for Criminal Tax Case and Money Laundering
On June 4, 2015, in Sacramento, California, Terrylyn McCain, of Stockton, was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $156,373 in restitution. On March 13, 2015, a jury found McCain guilty of mail fraud and making false claims against the United States by falsifying personal income tax returns for tax years 2005 to 2008, and money laundering for buying gold with proceeds of the fraud. McCain mailed tax returns to the IRS and claimed that banks, tow truck companies, department stores, interior designers and even her gardener had withheld income due to her. To support her scheme, she utilized false documents that indicated significant tax withholdings, including 1099–OID forms that were purportedly issued by financial institutions such as the Bank of Stockton and national retailers such as Costco and Target. In reality, funds were never withheld, the 1099–OID forms were fraudulent, and McCain’s tax returns were falsely inflated by hundreds of thousands of dollars. In total, McCain filed at least 12 fraudulent returns that sought nearly $3 million in tax refunds.

Ringleader of $2.6 Million Tax Refund Check Scam Sentenced
On June 2, 2015, in Newark, New Jersey, Raymundo Hernandez, of Bronx, New York, was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $2,659,717 in restitution. Hernandez previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal government funds. Hernandez was the ringleader of a conspiracy that stole $2.6 million in income tax refund checks issued by the United States. Hernandez knew the checks had been generated by conspirators filing false and fraudulent income tax returns with the IRS in order to obtain refunds to which he was not entitled. From November 2010 through October 2012, Hernandez recruited and maintained a network of conspirators in the Newark and Bronx areas and distributed fraudulent treasury checks to that network in exchange for payment. Hernandez obtained at least 44 such checks from Luis Pena, of Bronx, who was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Oct. 16, 2014. Pena had arranged for the fraudulent checks to be sent to a postal route and intercepted by the mail carriers on that route. On Jan. 7, 2015, Gloria Rivera, of Bronx, was sentenced to six months in prison and Lourdes Ortiz, of Bronx, was sentenced to three years of probation for their respective roles in the conspiracy. Once Hernandez distributed the fraudulent checks, he and his conspirators deposited them into bank accounts, primarily in the names of businesses they controlled and then withdrew large amounts of the proceeds in cash. They used some of the money to purchase cars and gamble at Atlantic City casinos. The fraudulently cashed checks totaled approximately $2,659,718; of these deposits, $171,589 was deposited into three bank accounts under Hernandez’ direct control.

Washington State Woman Who Led Tax Fraud and ID Theft Scheme Sentenced
On May 29, 2015, in Tacoma, Washington, Shannon Henderson was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $56,605 in restitution to the IRS. Henderson previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Between 2007 and 2009, while incarcerated at the Washington Women’s Correctional Center at Purdy, Washington, Henderson became pen pals with various inmates across the country and obtained the names and identifying information of real people from these inmates. Henderson also purchased the personal information of people who were employed in Washington State by ABM Janitorial Services from a co-conspirator in order to use these names to file false and fraudulent tax returns. Henderson used both the names provided by inmates and the names purchased from the co-conspirator to file the fraudulent returns. Henderson had the fraudulently claimed refunds loaded onto prepaid debit cards and had the cards mailed to her using the addresses of friends and relatives. Henderson filed more than 150 fraudulent tax returns between 2013 and 2014, seeking more than $170,000 in tax refunds. Some $56,000 in tax refunds were sent to Henderson at the addresses of friends and family members before the scheme was discovered.

Oregon Woman Sentenced for Identity Theft
On May 27, 2015, in Portland, Oregon, Teresa Lorraine Saunders was sentenced to 24 months in prison, one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay $959,441 in restitution to the IRS. Saunders pleaded guilty on Jan. 21, 2015 to aggravated identity theft. Between March 2011 and March 2014, Saunders filed, or caused to be filed with the IRS, approximately 250 individual income tax returns in the names of other taxpayers. In those returns, which she typically filed electronically, Saunders reported fictitious income, expenses and dependents in support of fraudulent claims for tax refunds totaling $1,125,793. The IRS actually paid $959,441 in unwarranted refunds on those claims. More than a third of that sum was deposited directly into accounts owned or controlled by Saunders, her daughter Unique Saunders, or another co-conspirator.

Connecticut Man Sentenced for Role in Fraudulent Income Tax Refund Scheme
On May 27, 2015, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Bernard Brantley, of Waterbury, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $395,537 in restitution. On Feb. 17, 2015, Brantley pleaded guilty to conspiracy in connection with his role in a fraudulent federal income tax refund scheme. Between November 2012 and May 2013, Kenya Malcolm, Charles Ross, Brantley, and others, conspired to file false federal income tax returns in the names of individuals without the individuals’ knowledge. Malcolm, who operated a business in Arizona called “Biggest Refund Taxes,” held herself out falsely to be a certified public accountant. As part of the scheme, Malcolm paid Ross to recruit individuals to her tax preparation business. Ross subsequently contacted Brantley in Connecticut and offered him a portion of Ross’s recruitment earnings if Brantley would also recruit clients for Malcolm. Instead of recruiting clients for tax preparation services Brantley, and individuals he hired, recruited victims under false pretenses, telling them that they were eligible for government funding and not telling them that tax returns would be filed in their names. Brantley and his associates then collected victims’ social security numbers and other personal information and provided that information to Malcolm. Malcolm, who knew that Brantley was recruiting individuals under false pretenses, used the personal information to file false tax returns that generated large tax refunds. She then directed a portion of the tax refunds to herself, a portion to Ross and Brantley, and a portion to the victim, usually through a prepaid debit card.

Connecticut Man Sentenced for Role in Massive Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme
On May 26, 2015, in New Haven, Connecticut, Julio Lara Trinidad, of Waterbury, was sentenced to 144 months in prison and three years of supervised release for participating in a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme that resulted in a loss of more than $7.5 million from the U.S. Treasury. On Feb. 10, 2015, Trinidad pleaded guilty to theft of public money and aggravated identity theft. In 2011, Trinidad was arrested in New Jersey for stealing U.S. Treasury tax refund checks from mailboxes. After he failed to appear for his sentencing in May 2012, Trinidad was arrested on Nov. 23, 2013, and subsequently charged by indictment in the District of Connecticut. While he was a fugitive from justice, Trinidad and his co-conspirators opened at least 59 bank accounts in the names of identity theft victims, depositing U.S. Treasury tax refund checks into the accounts, and then quickly withdrawing the funds, resulting in more than $663,000 in loss to the U.S. Treasury. Between December 2012 and February 2013, one of the accounts was used to purchase six licenses for a brand of tax preparation software. These licenses were used to file more than 36,000 federal income tax returns, seeking more than $234 million in federal tax refunds intended to be issued to Trinidad and his co-conspirators. Nearly $6.8 million in fraudulent refunds were issued before the scheme was identified.

California Resident Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On May 26, 2015, in Oakland, California, Charles S. Moore, of Pittsburg Bay Point, California, was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $78,353 in restitution to the United States. Moore pleaded guilty on Jan. 16, 2015, to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. Moore admitted that while he was a resident at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, another resident asked him to assist with filing false tax returns. As payment for teaching him the false tax refund scheme, Moore paid the resident with coffee and cigarettes. Moore realized that if he completed the Form 1040EZ a certain way, he would maximize a fraudulent tax refund, regardless of whether the people for whom the form was prepared earned money or paid taxes.  After Moore successfully implemented the scheme once with his nephew, he began preparing false tax returns for people who had no reported income, no student loans, or unpaid child support.  Moore usually took a portion of the fraudulent tax refunds as a fee.  He prepared and filed no less than 242 tax returns for acquaintances and friends for the 2007 through 2010 tax years, claiming refunds of $166,462.  

Former IRS Employee Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On May 26, 2015, in Oakland, California, Valorie Shaw, of Oakland, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $309,834 in restitution. Shaw pleaded guilty on Jan. 23, 2015, to conspiracy to file false claims. Shaw was employed as a tax return preparer at “Kwiktax” for three years.  Prior to working at Kwiktax, she held a variety of jobs, including working as a document transporter for the IRS. During 2011 and 2012, Shaw prepared false tax returns that she filed with the IRS. The purported filers listed on those tax returns were not entitled to tax refunds because the wage and tax withholding information listed on the returns were fictitious. Shaw also filed false W-2 information that stated the purported filers worked for the employers listed on the W-2s, even though she knew the information was false.  Shaw filed the false tax returns using personal information she obtained illegally from Kwiktax clients, including their names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, without these victims’ knowledge. During 2011, Shaw assisted in filing false tax returns requesting refunds in an amount no less than $487,248, for the 2010 tax year.  During 2012, Shaw assisted in filing false tax returns requesting refunds totaling $495,789 for the 2011 tax year.

Ohio Woman Sentenced for Identity Theft and Fraud
On May 20, 2015, in Cleveland, Ohio, Keauna Smith, of South Euclid, was sentenced to 60 months in prison. Smith previously pleaded guilty to identity theft, wire fraud and bank fraud in connection with a $70,000 scheme. Between 2012 and 2104, Smith stole the identities of 16 people. She used these stolen identities to file 18 false tax claims of approximately $44,306. Smith had the money loaded onto prepaid debit cards and then withdrew the money at various ATMs. Smith also illegally obtained approximately $26,300 by taking checks from her employer, made them payable to herself and then forged the owner’s signature on the checks.

District of Columbia Man Sentenced for Role in Massive Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Scheme
On May 13, 2015, in Washington, D.C., James Nelson, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced to 41 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $636,026 in restitution to the IRS. Nelson pleaded guilty on Jan. 29, 2015 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. Nelson was a participant in a massive and sophisticated identity theft and false tax refund scheme that sought refunds of at least $40 million. The scheme started in 2006, and false claims for tax refunds were sought for tax years 2005 through 2012, often in the names of individuals whose identities had been stolen, including the elderly, people in assisted living facilities, drug addicts and prisoners. From December 2007 through January 2012, Nelson used his residential addresses in the District of Columbia to receive some of the fraudulently obtained tax refunds. He also recruited others to receive fraudulent refunds at their addresses. Approximately 360 fraudulent federal income tax returns listing the addresses that were under Nelson’s control were filed with the IRS. The returns sought refunds of approximately $908,500.  As a result, the IRS sent out 238 checks, totaling about $524,795, and 184 of those checks, totaling $432,804, were ultimately cashed. Nelson also recruited others to negotiate at least 86 other refund checks, totaling approximately $203,222, causing a total intended loss to the U.S. Treasury of more than $1.1 million.

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Role in $65 Million Identity Theft, Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On May 12, 2015, in Newark, New Jersey, Porfirio Paredes, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,887,912 in restitution. Paredes previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. Paredes participated in a conspiracy that caused more than 8,000 fraudulent income tax returns to be filed, which sought more than $65 million in tax refunds and resulted in losses to the United States of more than $12 million. Starting as early as 2007, dozens of individuals in the New Jersey and New York area were engaged in this large-scale, long-running scheme. Members of the conspiracy obtained personal identifiers belonging to Puerto Rican citizens. They used those identifiers to create fake 1040 forms to create the appearance that the “taxpayers” were entitled to tax refunds. The returns were filed electronically. Paredes, and the other members of the conspiracy, gained control of the refund checks, sometimes bribing mail carriers to intercept checks and deliver them to other members of the conspiracy. Paredes also used conspirators in Michigan and North Carolina to negotiate the fraudulently obtained treasury checks that he bought and sold.

Tampa Woman Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On May 8, 2015, in Tampa, Florida, Rosa Moultry Martin, of Tampa, was sentenced to 60 months years in prison and ordered to forfeit $153,219 and two luxury cars. Martin pleaded guilty on Dec. 2, 2014 to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. In May 2012, postal employees at the New Tampa Post Office reported to law enforcement that numerous pieces of mail bearing the label “Turbo Tax,” and addressed to at least 10 different individuals, were scheduled to be delivered to Martin’s home. A search warrant executed at Martin’s home found a laptop and desktop computer, more than 50 prepaid debit cards issued in other names, and print-outs from a genealogy website containing personally identifiable information (PII), and numerous ledgers containing PII, account information, passwords, and email addresses. The search also lead to the recovery of receipts for money orders that had been purchased with fraudulently obtained tax refunds and used by Martin to pay for her rent and other items. A subsequent search of Martin, her husband, and her vehicle revealed several items, including an iPad, a tablet, cell phones, and approximately $25,000 worth of jewelry. Forensic examinations of the computers and tablets revealed Internet search history for tax-related websites and the PII of at least 20 individuals. In total, it was determined that Martin possessed and used the PII of approximately 76 victims, without their permission, to file fraudulent tax returns and/or receive refunds resulting from the filing of fraudulent tax returns. Martin, working alone and with others, made false claims for refunds totaling approximately $641,754 and received approximately $153,219 to which she was not entitled.

Michigan Residents Sentenced for Defrauding IRS with Identities of Deceased Individuals
On May 7, 2015, in Detroit, Michigan, McAllen Knight and Renita Adams were each sentenced to 18 months in prison. Knight and Adams previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aiding and abetting in the use of false identification. Knight’s mother, sister and stepfather also pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aiding and abetting in the use of false identification. Brenda Knight, Knight’s mother, and Adreann Turnage, Knight’s sister, were sentenced on April 14, 2015, to 24 months and 18 months in prison, respectively. Willie Watkins, Knight’s stepfather, was sentenced on April 29, 2014, to 30 months in prison. All five defendants were ordered to pay $410,949 in restitution. Adams and McAllen Knight participated in a scheme with Watkins, Brenda Knight and Adreann Turnage to defraud the United States by using the names and social security numbers of recently deceased individuals to prepare fraudulent tax returns. They filed hundreds of fraudulent 2010 tax returns. The returns were transmitted electronically from local hotels and coffee shops. An Internet account registered to Adams was used to transmit 306 fraudulent returns. The refunds were directed to bank accounts that were established for the sole purpose of receiving the fraudulent refunds. McAllen Knight caused some of these bank accounts to be opened by others to receive the deposits of the false tax refunds. Adams helped distribute the proceeds of the fraudulently obtained tax refunds at the direction of her fellow participants and retained a portion of the proceeds for her own benefit.

Key Player in Identity Theft Conspiracy Sentenced
On May 4, 2015, in San Diego, California, Arthur Grigorian was sentenced to 52 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $1.5 million in restitution. Grigorian played a key role in a ring that stole personal identity information from unwitting victims in order to file false tax returns in their names. These false returns generated over $1.5 million. Grigorian and his conspirators falsely claimed refunds in the names of the victims in a number of ways, all of which involved some form of falsified income and withholdings. Most commonly, the conspirators claimed that the victims – many of whom were elderly and had not filed federal income tax returns in years – made tens of thousands of dollars in gambling winnings before losing nearly the identical amount. As part of this scheme, Grigorian and his fellow conspirators directed the IRS to send the ill-gotten refunds to postal addresses and/or bank accounts under their control. The conspirators then would often circulate the money through several other accounts before withdrawing it and distributing the money amongst the group.

Seven Floridians Sentenced In Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
On May 1, 2015, in Tampa, Florida, seven individuals were sentenced to prison for their roles in a conspiracy to commit stolen identity refund fraud. Mikeil Royal was sentenced to 65 months, Brian Gilchrist was sentenced to 37 months, Donterrio Troup was sentenced to 35 months, Kenneth Royal was sentenced to 33 months, Terrence Johnson was sentenced to 24 months, Shadae Cotton was sentenced to 21 months, and Tanisha Johnson was sentenced to 20 months. As part of each defendant’s sentence, the Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $488,657, representing the amount of the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct. Each individual previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy. Between 2011 and 2014, the defendants filed false and fraudulent income tax returns in the names of deceased individuals whom they located on the Internet. In these returns, the conspirators represented that they were entitled to the refunds and requested that the IRS direct refunds in varying amounts to accounts that they had established, in their own respective names, at two local financial institutions.

Three Floridians Sentenced for Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On April 30, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Vory V. Copeland, of Miramar, was sentenced to 111 months in prison, Marlan L. Copeland, also of Miramar, was sentenced to 72 months in prison, and Brannoc K. Rudd, of Miami Gardens, was sentenced to 60 months in prison. All three defendants will serve three years of supervised release and held jointly liable for restitution. Vory Copeland was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $911,539. Marlan Copeland and Brannoc Rudd were each ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $285,834. A federal jury convicted Vory Copeland of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. A separate federal jury convicted Marlan Copeland and Brannoc Rudd of conspiracy. Marlan Copeland was also convicted of theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. Between January 2010 and April 2010, Vory Copeland and his co-conspirators filed over 150 fraudulent tax returns, including tax returns that included stolen personal identification information. Marlan Copeland and Rudd brought more than 20 fraudulent tax refund checks into a Wachovia Bank in Miami Gardens, cashed the checks and fraudulently obtained more than $100,000. Although each check had been purportedly signed by the taxpayer, the taxpayers identified the signatures as forgeries at the trials.

Former El Paso Couple Sentenced for Identity Theft and Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme
On April 30, 2015, in El Paso, Texas, Curtis Joshua Cooper (a/k/a “Kelvin Afanador-Rodriguez”) and Brandie Malfavon were sentenced to 29 months and eight months in prison, respectively, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $22,749 in restitution to the IRS for their roles in an identity theft and fraudulent tax refund. On Jan. 13, 2015, Cooper and Malfavon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  Cooper also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. From January 2010 until March 2011, the defendants conspired to obtain refunds derived from fraudulently prepared income tax returns. Cooper admitted to using names, dates of birth and social security numbers he purchased to electronically submit fraudulent income tax returns to the IRS. The refunds, which were claimed and received by Cooper based on those fraudulent income tax returns, were transferred by wire from the Federal Reserve Branch in New York to bank accounts in El Paso that were opened by Malfavon.

Inmate Sentenced for Conspiring to Prepare and File False Tax Returns
On April 29, 2015, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Tanka James Tetzlaff, of Duluth, was sentenced to 88 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $165,800 in restitution. Tetzlaff pleaded guilty on Oct. 3, 2014, to conspiring to prepare and file false federal income tax returns and fraudulently claim tax refunds. On Jan. 20, 2015, Tony Terrell Robinson, Tetzlaff's co-defendant, was sentenced to 84 months in prison. From October 2009 through about September 2010, Robinson and Tetzlaff, who were in the Faribault Correctional Facility in Minnesota, conspired to prepare and file false federal income tax returns and fraudulently claim tax refunds. As part of their scheme, the defendants recruited other state prisoners to file false tax returns using their names and social security numbers. The defendants and other co-conspirators filed the tax returns using false wage and federal income tax withholding information. Refund checks were received at addresses controlled by co-conspirators not in prison and cashed using power of attorney forms signed by co-conspirators who filed the fraudulent returns. Refunds also were deposited directly into bank accounts controlled by the co-conspirators. As a result of the conspiracy, over $600,000 of false claims were made to the IRS.

Kentucky Resident Sentenced for Scheme to Obtain Fraudulent Income Tax Refunds Using Stolen Identities
On April 29, 2015, in Louisville, Kentucky, Erica Spencer was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $94,159 in restitution. On Nov. 7, 2014, Spencer pleaded guilty to theft of public money, unauthorized use of access devices, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. From June 2011 through June 2012, Spencer used the identities, including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of several individuals to file fraudulent federal income tax returns in their names and to receive fraudulent federal income tax refunds. Spencer received the fraudulent federal tax refunds in bank accounts she controlled.

Illinois Man Sentenced for Identity Theft for Purposes of Filing False Tax Returns
On April 28, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois, Robert Brown, of Chicago, was sentenced to 66 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $308,829 in restitution. Brown pleaded guilty in January 2015 to aggravated identity theft and wire fraud. From January 2010 through March 2014, Brown, with his co-defendant Lorenzo Brown, submitted fraudulent federal income tax returns using the misappropriated personal identifying information of approximately 332 taxpayers, causing the IRS to issue refunds totaling approximately $357,539. Brown and his co-defendant obtained personal identifying information from victim taxpayers without their knowledge or consent. Several of the identities were stolen from residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Brown prepared fraudulent tax returns and electronically filed those fraudulent tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds based upon false income and false tax withholding information, using the identifying information provided to him by his co-defendant. Brown caused the IRS to send fraudulently claimed tax refunds via prepaid debit card, United States Treasury check, or electronic funds transfers to bank accounts in the name of his co-defendant, who withdrew the funds from the bank accounts and provided portions of these funds to Brown. Co-defendant Lorenzo Brown’s sentencing is scheduled at a later date.

Kansas City Man Sentenced for Theft of Government Funds and Aggravated Identity Theft
On April 28, 2015, in Kansas City, Kansas, Lamar D. Lynch was sentenced to 32 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $84,630 in restitution. Lynch pleaded guilty on Nov. 5, 2014 to theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. A taxpayer identified Lamar Lynch as the preparer of her 2009, 2010, and 2011 tax returns. The taxpayer was a W-2 wage earner and did not have Schedule C self-employment income from a janitorial service as was reported on her tax returns. The returns reflected Schedule C losses of $10,312 in 2009, $5,087 in 2010, and $6,719 in 2011, which caused the taxpayer to receive approximately $15,000 in refunds over the three year period. The taxpayer contacted the IRS in 2013 and learned that a portion of her tax refunds went into Lynch's bank accounts. Lynch was never authorized to direct a portion of the refunds to his accounts. In addition, around Jan. 28, 2011, Lynch fraudulently used a Social Security number belonging to another individual as part of the theft of government violations. Lynch used this social security number to file a fraudulent tax return for the 2010 tax year and unlawfully obtained $1,458 in government funds.

South Carolina Man Sentenced in Tax Refund Scheme
On April 24, 2015, in Columbia, South Carolina, Flavio Torres-Tello, of Newberry, was sentenced to 61 months in prison and faces deportation upon his release. Torres-Tello pleaded guilty to unlawful identification document transfer and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme that netted him and others $1.4 million in fraudulent income tax refund checks from the United States Treasury. Torres-Tello directed others to buy or steal IRS Form W-2s from migrant workers in and around the Lexington County area. Torres-Tello used the W-2 forms to file hundreds of fraudulent income tax returns, often adding multiple fictitious dependents to inflate the amount of the refunds. Torres-Tello would then generate forged Mexican Consular Identification Cards to use as identification in order to cash the refund checks at retail locations.

Tennessee Man Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On April 23, 2015, in Memphis, Tennessee, Jeremy Tate, of Cordova, was sentenced to 57 months in prison and ordered to pay $161,021 in restitution. On Jan. 13, 2015, Tate pleaded guilty to identity theft and filing false income tax returns. Between August 2011 and April 2013, Tate obtained the names, birth dates, and social security numbers of numerous individuals without their knowledge or consent, and then used the information to file over 120 false tax returns. This resulted in Tate claiming over $161,000 in refunds. Tate recruited others to open bank accounts and directed the false tax return refunds to be electronically deposited into those accounts

Former Prison Guard Sentenced for Identity Theft of Inmates and Filing False Tax Returns
On April 23, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois, Cornelius Crumity, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and one year of supervised release. In May 2014, Crumity pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and mail fraud. Crumity was employed by the Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (MDCDC) as a prison guard. In that position, Crumity had access to MDCDC databases and records, which included the personal identifying information of inmates. At various times, without the knowledge or authority of the MDCDC, Crumity accessed and copied the names and social security numbers of inmates who were incarcerated by the MDCDC, and used their names and social security numbers to file false and fraudulent tax returns with the IRS. Beginning in January 2008 and continuing through April 2011, Crumity stole at least 50 inmate identities and filed fraudulent federal income taxes, attempting to cause the IRS to issue refunds in amounts totaling approximately $356,000. As a result of his conduct, the defendant caused the United States Treasury to suffer loss of at least $55,888.

Identity Thief Sentenced for Making False Claims
On April 21, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Nicholas Pappas was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $67,115 in restitution. From approximately June 2011 to February 2013, Pappas conspired with others to file false U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns with the IRS. Pappas and others used the identities of deceased individuals, obtained through internet websites, to prepare false tax returns. Pappas and others placed fictitious amounts of wages, withholding and various Schedule A deductions on the tax returns. The false returns were electronically filed with the IRS and fraudulent income tax refunds were deposited onto pre-paid debit cards that Pappas and others had obtained in the names of the deceased individuals. Pappas was responsible for the filing of 30 false tax returns with the IRS that sought approximately $248,000 from the U.S. Treasury.

California Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On April 20, 2015, in Fresno, California, Christine Rose Caraway, of Modesto, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay over $60,000 in restitution to the IRS for conspiring to submit false claims to the IRS. From December 2010 to May 2011, Caraway and her former spouse, Heath Lee Roberson, obtained personal identifying information from over 40 individuals. Caraway and Roberson then used this information to generate false tax returns and submitted them to the IRS. They funneled the tax refunds into accounts they controlled. Roberson was sentenced on July 21, 2014, to 33 months in prison.

Florida Man Sentenced For False Tax Claims and Obstructing the Internal Revenue Service
On April 20, 2015, in Fort Myers, Florida, Ronald Francis Croteau was sentenced to 56 months in prison. A federal jury convicted Croteau on Jan. 22, 2015 for filing false tax claims and for obstructing or impeding the administration of the Internal Revenue laws. Croteau belonged to a sovereign citizen, anti-government group; claimed to be a member of the Little Shell Pembina Band of North Dakota and deemed himself to be an ambassador of the Kingdom of Heaven. Between September 2008 and May 2010, he filed 10 false and fraudulent income tax returns claiming refunds totaling more than $3.8 million. These returns claimed federal tax withholdings from fraudulent Forms 1099-OID purportedly issued to Croteau by financial institutions. After being notified by the IRS that his income tax returns were frivolous, Croteau continued to file fraudulent income tax returns. In addition, he obstructed the administration of the Internal Revenue laws by filing false liens against IRS employees, submitting fraudulent instruments to the IRS in an attempt to discharge his tax liabilities, and recording false documents with the Lee County Clerk of Court.    

Georgia Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On April 17, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia, Benjamin Okeke, of Powder Springs, Georgia, was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $81,153 in restitution to the IRS. Okeke pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and aggravated identity theft. From about January 2012 until about March 2014, Okeke, along with other co-conspirators, obtained the personal identifying information of individuals, including their names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. Using this information, Okeke made false and fraudulent claims for tax refunds by filing, and causing to be filed, federal income tax returns with the IRS that contained false information, including false employment information. They filed the fraudulent tax returns without the knowledge or consent of the victims. Okeke then directed the tax refunds to be deposited into bank accounts he controlled.

Five Sentenced In Tax Fraud Scheme
On April 16, 2015 in, Pensacola, Florida, five individuals were sentenced for conspiring to commit tax fraud. John David Castleberry was sentenced to 126 months in prison and ordered to pay $328,143 in restitution to the IRS. Christopher Stephen Baum, Mark Douglas Stokes and Melinda K. Stokes were sentenced to 51 months, 24 months, and 12 months and one day in prison, respectively. They were also each ordered to pay $162,608 in restitution to the IRS. Teresa Haggerty was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $129,762 in restitution to the IRS. The defendants were convicted on Jan. 22, 2015, by jury trial. In addition to conspiracy, Castleberry and Haggerty were also convicted for assisting in the preparation and filing of fraudulent tax returns, and Castleberry was convicted for filing his own false federal income tax return. Between 2008 and 2010, the defendants participated in a scheme to prepare and file fraudulent tax returns seeking more than $9 million in refunds. The group used an obscure IRS Form 1099-OID to falsely report that they and/or their clients’ creditors had withheld large amounts of federal income taxes and had paid this money over to the IRS. As a result of the fraudulently-overstated income tax withholding, the tax returns claimed large refunds to which the defendants and their clients were not entitled.

Former Nightclub Owner and Ringleader of Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme Sentenced
On April 15, 2015, in Montgomery, Alabama, Tarrish Tellis, of Montgomery, was sentenced to 223 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $694,366 in restitution. On Jan. 14, 2015, a federal jury convicted Tellis of conspiracy to commit theft of public money, theft of public money and aggravated identity theft. Tellis, the former owner of Club Iconz Bar and Grill in Montgomery, masterminded a more than $700,000 stolen identity tax refund scheme. Tellis’ co-conspirator, Nakia Jackson, obtained approximately 700 names, dates of birth and social security numbers from an employee of the Alabama Medicaid State Agency. Jackson provided some of the stolen names to Tellis, who used them to file false income tax returns. Tellis concealed the origin of the tax refund proceeds by recruiting friends and relatives, including Bobby Joe Means, Delancey Tolliver, Glen Powell Jr. and Tracey Montgomery, to open up bank accounts for the purpose of receiving the tax refunds. When the refunds were deposited into their bank accounts, Tellis directed them to withdraw the money and provide it to him. Tellis directed more than $300,000 in fraudulent tax refunds to be deposited in those accounts. Tellis also recruited a bank teller, Laquanta Clayton, to open up bank accounts in the name of fictitious individuals and in the name of her daughter’s father. Tellis directed approximately $200,000 in fraudulent refunds to be deposited into the accounts that Clayton controlled. Clayton withdrew the refund proceeds in cash and provided the majority of the money to Tellis. Tellis also took steps to conceal his involvement in the filing of false tax returns, including filing numerous tax returns by accessing another person’s residential wireless router so that it appeared as though the owner of the residence had filed the returns. In 2014, Tellis’ co-conspirators were sentenced to terms ranging from 87 months to six months in prison for their involvement in the stolen identity refund fraud scheme.

California Man Sentenced for Role in Tax Fraud Scheme
On April 2, 2015, in Oakland, California, Guadalupe Nieves Jr. was sentenced to 42 months in prison, three years supervised release and ordered to pay $444,687 in restitution for his role in a false tax refund scheme. Nieves, of Hayward, pleaded guilty to wire fraud on Oct. 16, 2014. Nieves admitted that he had a history of problems with substance abuse. To obtain the funds necessary to support his drug problem, Nieves intentionally devised a scheme to defraud the United States by filing false tax returns claiming tax refund payments for 2010, 2011 and 2012. Nieves obtained personal information from homeless and low income persons to submit fraudulent tax returns and obtain tax credits and refunds. Nieves convinced people to complete an identification information form, ID-Doc, by telling them they were being screened for eligibility for an Obama Administration-sponsored stimulus program. Nieves admitted he intentionally sought out homeless and low-income persons, recruiting from various drug rehabilitation centers located throughout the San Francisco Bay area. Nieves provided the ID-Doc to others for the purpose of preparing and electronically filing false federal individual income tax returns and claiming fraudulent tax credits and refunds. Nieves also admitted he opened a joint bank account with his partner for the sole purpose of receiving fraudulent tax refunds.

Former eBay Manager Sentenced for Stealing IRS Refunds
On March 31, 2015, in San Jose, California, Sanjeev Bais was sentenced to 30 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $247,541 in restitution. Bais pleaded guilty on Dec. 8, 2014 to theft of government property. Between February 2009 and April 2010, Bais and his partner stole $224,792 in IRS refunds by filing false tax returns. Bais, an eBay, Inc. manager, had an email list of employees of San Jose based technology companies. Using that list, Bais sent an email soliciting tax return preparation services by a certified public accountant named “Raj Malhotra.” Using the alias “Raj Malhotra,” Bais asked the victims for personal information, including copies of their driver’s licenses, Forms W-2, Forms 1099 and 1098, and other tax-related documents. He also instructed the victims to pay for the tax returns by submitting payments to his PayPal account. Bais and his partner prepared tax returns showing false Schedule C business losses, false “Other” losses, and false Schedule A items. Additionally, instead of sending the victims copies of the tax returns filed with the IRS, Bais and his partner sent fake copies that accurately reflected the individual tax liability of the victims.  Bais and his partner submitted the tax returns to the IRS electronically and by submitting paper tax returns. To further conceal his crimes, Bais and his partner deposited cash into the victims’ real bank accounts in amounts that matched the refunds shown on the fake tax returns that he sent to them. Bais used the fraudulently obtained money to pay his mortgage on a property in Belmont and provided $27,000 to his partner to deposit into an account with the State Bank of India.

Former North Carolina Couple Sentenced on Fraud Charges
On March 27, 2015, in Greensboro, North Carolina, Sandy Wade Parsons and Casey Stone Parsons were sentenced to 96 months and 120 months in prison, respectively, and three years of supervised release. In addition, Sandy Parsons was ordered to pay $14,062 in restitution and a special assessment of $4,300. Casey Parsons was ordered to pay $41,814 in restitution and a special assessment of $1,500. Sandy Parsons was found guilty after a trial in October 2014 on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government, aggravated identity theft, false statement to a government agency, theft of government funds and mail fraud. Casey Parsons pleaded guilty on Oct. 1, 2014, to conspiracy to defraud the government, mail fraud, aiding in the preparation of a false tax return, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. From February 2010 to August 2013, the Parsons received government funded adoption assistance, Medicaid, Social Security, and Food and Nutrition Services benefits for a dependent who did not live with them. Casey Parsons also fraudulently used the identities of other persons as dependents and used other false information when preparing federal tax returns.

Illinois Woman Sentenced for Conspiracy to Defraud the IRS  
On March 26, 2015, in Benton, Illinois, Tajuana L. Sullivan, of Marion, was sentenced to 38 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $98,091 in restitution. On Nov. 26, 2014, Sullivan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the IRS by submitting numerous false federal tax returns and aggravated identity theft for using a stolen identity of another in submitting a fraudulent tax return. On Feb. 19, 2013, deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s office conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Sullivan. Approximately 53 debit cards and a notebook with names and identifying information were found in Sullivan’s possession. The IRS Scheme Development Center linked tax returns based on the notebook containing identifying information found in Sullivan’s vehicle, internet protocol addresses, employers, occupations, and electronic filing identification numbers, which revealed a tax refund scheme, some of which involved stolen identities. This tax refund scheme consisted of approximately 86 federal income tax returns.

Final Member of Identity Theft and Tax Conspiracy Sentenced
On March 24, 2015, in Anderson, South Carolina, Kimberly J. Demata, of Miami, Florida, was sentenced to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay over $91,000 in restitution for conspiracy to defraud the United States. Other members of the conspiracy, Yeedser D. Palacios, Wandy A. Fabre, and Charles Law, all of Miami, Florida, were previously sentenced to 75 months, 54 months and 51 months in prison, respectively. Fabre, Palacios, and Law traveled to South Carolina for the purpose of filing fraudulent income tax returns and receiving bogus refunds. The three men rented a hotel room and waited while Demata sent them stolen names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. The trio used this information to file tax returns and directed that the refunds be sent to various addresses in South Carolina. Law, Fabre, and Palacios routinely checked the mail boxes for the debit cards containing the refunds. For returns they filed using Florida addresses, Demata would check the mailboxes for the debit cards. The conspiracy was uncovered when a citizen reported seeing the same vehicle checking various mail boxes in the neighborhood. The local police department and U.S. Postal Inspectors conducted surveillance and arrested the three conspirators after watching them pull items from a mailbox. Further investigation revealed that the conspirators filed over 60 fraudulent returns. The average amount of refund claimed was between $5,000 and $7,000.

Florida Residents Sentenced in False Tax Return Scheme
On March 24, 2015, in Fort Myers, Florida, Amaury Jimenez Brito, of Fort Myers, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay $7,924 in restitution to the IRS. He pleaded guilty on Nov. 6, 2014 to conspiracy to defraud the United States with false claims and theft of government property. According to court documents, between April 1, 2014 and May 22, 2014, Brito and his co-defendant, Yidelka Caceres, conspired with others to file approximately 264 false tax returns using the personal identifying information of other individuals without their permission and seeking more than $1.37 million in tax refunds. The IRS rejected the majority of the filings; however, Brito and Caceres received approximately $7,924 in proceeds from the offense. In addition, on April 18, 2014, Brito illegally sold two U.S. Treasury checks to a confidential informant. On May 8, 2014, Brito and Caceres illegally sold another U.S. Treasury check to the informant.  Neither Brito nor Caceres was the payee on the Treasury checks and they did not have permission to convert the funds for their own use or to sell or transfer the checks. Caceres, also of Fort Myers, previously pleaded guilty for her role in this case. On Feb. 13, 2015, she was sentenced to 90 days home confinement, five years of probation and ordered to pay $7,924 in restitution. Caceres was also ordered to forfeit $5,932 seized from her home at the time of her arrest, representing proceeds she obtained as a result of her conduct.

Three South Carolina Residents Sentenced in Income Tax Refund Scheme
On March 20, 2015, in Columbia, South Carolina, Ivon Martinez, of West Columbia, was sentenced to 42 months in prison; Alonzo Leon-Ortega, of Lexington, was sentenced to 12 months in prison; and Francisco Campos-Aguilar, of Woodruff, was sentenced eight months of home confinement and five years’ probation. In addition, all three defendants face possible deportation. Leon-Ortega and Campos-Aguilar each entered guilty pleas of conspiracy and Martinez pleaded guilty to unlawful identification document transfer and aggravated identity theft. Martinez bought or stole IRS forms W-2 from migrant workers in and around the Lexington County area. Martinez and other members of the conspiracy then used the W-2 forms to file fraudulent income tax returns, in an attempt to receive over $1.4 million, often adding multiple fictitious dependents to inflate the amount of the refunds. Leon-Ortega and Campos-Aguilar would then use forged Mexican Consular Identification Cards to cash the refund checks at retail locations. Sentencing dates for other members of the scheme have not been set.

Mississippi Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On March 19, 2015, in Jackson, Mississippi, Flowers Curtis, a/k/a Jim Curtis, of Hermanville, Mississippi, was sentenced to 37 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $185,176 in restitution. Curtis was convicted by jury trial in August 2014 of knowingly representing a false claim to the IRS. From around Jan. 17, 2009 to about Feb. 15, 2012, in Claiborne County and Franklin County, Mississippi, Curtis filed income tax returns for tax years 2008 through 2011 requesting payment of refunds which he knew to be fraudulent in nature. Curtis made the claims by preparing and causing to be prepared, U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, Forms 1040, which were then presented to the Internal Revenue Service for payment.

Maryland Tax Preparation Business Owner Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On March 20, 2015, in Baltimore, Maryland, Jennifer Rodriguez, of Hyattsville, Maryland, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $983,382 to the IRS for a fraud conspiracy. Rodriguez owned Latin Multi Services, a tax preparation service located in Silver Spring, Maryland. From October or November 2010 to January 2012, Rodriguez filed false income tax returns using the stolen identities of Puerto Rico residents. The stolen identities of families, including minor children, were obtained from a co-conspirator residing in Puerto Rico. Rodriguez falsely listed the tax payers’ home addresses as her own home address in Maryland, or variations of her business address. These tax returns also included fabricated income and deductions. All of the fraudulent returns requested refunds to be deposited in bank accounts that Rodriguez or a co-conspirator controlled. Over the course of the scheme, Rodriguez filed 283 false tax returns which caused IRS to pay $983,382 in fraudulent refunds.

Tanzanian National Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On March 19, 2015, in Houston, Texas, Amon Rweyemamu Mtaza, a Tanzanian national, was sentenced to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $404,409 in restitution, as well as forfeiture of a 2006 Maserati and a 2007 Mercedes Benz as proceeds gained from the illegal scheme. Mtaza pleaded guilty Sept. 16, 2014 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Mtaza is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison. Mtaza ran a stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF) scheme that targeted more than 600 people and involved the filing of hundreds of fraudulent tax returns. Mtaza used stolen and unlawfully obtained personal identity information, including the names and Social Security numbers, to prepare fraudulent United States income tax returns. Mtaza electronically filed the fraudulent tax returns, then directed the fraudulently obtained tax refunds to be deposited onto reloadable debit cards, or disbursed as U.S. Treasury checks, and used the monies to obtain cash and goods for his own benefit. The tax refund filings account for an intended loss of more than $1.8 million with an actual loss of $404,409 to the IRS. A total of 685 victims were identified as victims in Mtaza’s scheme.

Texas Man Sentenced for Theft of Public Funds and Aggravated Identity Theft
On March 19, 2015, in Dallas, Texas, Roberto Boris Fernandez was sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay $466,405 in restitution to the IRS. On Nov 20, 2014, Fernandez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft of public funds and aggravated identity theft. During January 2012, Fernandez conspired with others to engage in a scheme to obtain tax refunds by electronically filing fraudulent income tax returns using stolen names and social security information. The returns falsely represented that the taxpayers were entitled to a refund because of a falsely created Earned Income Credit. The returns were filed through an online tax preparation service and directed the IRS to deposit the refunds onto debit cards that were mailed to co-conspirators’ addresses. Fernandez and the co-conspirators used the debit cards at automatic teller machines (ATMs) to withdraw cash. During the evening and early morning hours of January 30-31, 2012, a police officer stopped a limousine for a traffic violation. At the time, Fernandez was the sole passenger. While searching the limousine, officers seized Fernandez’s backpack, a cell phone, an air card, several Turbo Tax envelopes and debit cards, $8,295 in cash, and ATM receipts. Inside the backpack, officers found handwritten personal identifying information for approximately 200 individuals, together with notations as to refund amounts, personal identification numbers and dates on which refunds were expected. Eight additional unopened Turbo Tax envelopes containing debit cards issued in third party names were also found in the backpack.

Texas Man Sentenced for Preparing and Submitting False Income Tax Returns
On March 18, 2015, in Dallas, Texas, Michael Lloyd Moody, of North Richland Hills, Texas, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution to the IRS. Moody pleaded guilty in December 2013 to aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent individual income tax returns. From 2009 through 2010, Moody prepared U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, Forms 1040, along with supporting schedules, at his residence. After meeting his customers, Moody would deliver the completed returns to Universal Tax, located in Irving, Texas, to be electronically filed with the IRS. Universal Tax was assigned an Electronic Filing Identification Number by the IRS authorizing the electronic filing of tax returns. Moody admitted to inserting false or inflated deductions and credits to produce fraudulent refunds.  

Georgia Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On March 16, 2015 in Savannah, Georgia, Bryan Chester Coney was sentenced to 61 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $211,755 in restitution to the IRS. Coney pleaded guilty on Oct. 28, 2014 to conspiracy to defraud the United States and aggravated identity theft. Beginning around January 2010 and continuing until about September 2011, Coney and co-conspirators obtained the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of others and used this information to prepare and submit fraudulent tax returns. In order to prevent detection of the scheme, the refunds were put on pre-paid debit cards and mailed to addresses different than their own. Coney and his conspirators would then retrieve the mail unbeknownst to the individuals who actually resided at the address. Coney and the co-conspirators then used fake identification to cash out the debit cards.

Former SSA Employee and Eight Others Sentenced In Fraudulent Income Tax Refund Scheme
On March 11, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia, the last of nine defendants was sentenced for his role in a fraudulent income tax fraud scheme. Marcus Behling, of Powder Springs, Georgia, was sentenced to 39 months in prison and ordered to pay $698,249 in restitution. From approximately January 2011 until March 2012, Shawn Brown led a criminal organization that used stolen personal identification information from more than 1,000 victims, along with fake wage and withholding information, to prepare and electronically file fraudulent returns claiming more than $5 million dollars in tax refunds. Brown and co-conspirator Maurice Pollock recruited Ronald Bennett, an employee of the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) in Jacksonville, Florida, to improperly access an SSA computer database to steal identities. Brown also recruited Christopher Edwards, an employee of an asset recovery company, to steal identities from a computer database he accessed through his employer. The stolen identities obtained by Bennett and Edwards were used to file fraudulent income tax returns. Brown also recruited Sergey Krayev, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Moldova, to employ individuals in Russia to file fraudulent income tax returns. More than 70 fraudulent returns were filed from Russia and refunds associated with those returns were electronically deposited into bank accounts Brown controlled. On March 6, 2015, Shawn Brown was sentenced to 160 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,230,021 in restitution. Also sentenced on March 6 were: Maurice Pollock to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $888,697 in restitution; Jonathan Stubbs to 73 months in prison and ordered to pay $659,599 in restitution; Nyron Nelson to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay $98,671 in restitution; Kelly Lonas to 29 months in prison and ordered to pay $98,671 in restitution; Ronald Bennett to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution; Christopher Edwards to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $9,265 in restitution; and Sergey Krayev to 12 months’ of probation and ordered to pay $31,036 in restitution.

Miami Resident Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme Involving Medical Patients’ Information
On March 11, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Kenol Augustin, of Miami, was sentenced to 16 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay jointly $57,000 in restitution. Augustin was previously convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to commit access device fraud. In November 2014, an individual recruited into the scheme searched their employer’s database and accessed the names and Social Security numbers (personal identity information or PII) of individual medical patients. This employee then provided a list of individuals’ PII in exchange for a cash payment from Augustin. Augustin and his co-conspirators caused false and fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds to be filed with the IRS using the PII.

Louisiana Resident Sentenced for Role in $10 Million Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On March 11, 2015, Olsen Saravia-Hernandez, a Honduran national who most recently resided in Metairie, Louisiana, was sentenced to 43 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1million in restitution to the United States. On Dec. 19, 2013, Saravia-Hernandez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and aggravated identity theft. Saravia-Hernandez was part of a criminal organization led by Jacqueline J. Arias, a tax return preparer from Spruce Pine, Alabama. The organization filed false returns using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs).  An ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the IRS to individuals who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security Number. Saravia-Hernandez acted as a “runner” in the organization, obtaining identification documents in Louisiana and ferrying them to Arias for use in filing false returns. In November 2014, Arias was sentenced to 97 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $10 million in restitution. To date, 17 defendants have received sentences ranging from 19 months to 42 months in prison. One defendant was arrested in Panama last year and is awaiting sentencing and four defendants remain fugitives.

Chiropractor Sentenced for Filing More Than $6 Million in False Tax Refund Claims
On March 9, 2015, in Phoenix, Arizona, Adrianne Marta Frazer, a chiropractor practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $703,478 in restitution to the federal government. Frazer was previously found guilty by a federal jury of filing false and fictitious claims for tax refunds. Frazer knowingly filed false tax returns utilizing a common scheme known as the Form 1099-OID scheme. Although many of Frazer’s tax returns were immediately rejected by the Internal Revenue Service, one was accepted, resulting in the issuance of a $593,651 refund. Within days of getting the refund check, Frazer began spending and transferring the money. Frazer also solicited others to attend seminars that taught participants on how to use the 1099-OID scheme and kept filing false returns after being put on notice that the Form 1099-OID scheme was fraudulent.

Nevada Woman Sentenced for Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns
On March 5, 2015, in Las Vegas, Denise J. Vick, of Las Vegas, was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $21,254 in restitution to the IRS. Vick pleaded guilty on Nov. 4, 2014, to presenting false claims to the United States. Vick created and filed with the IRS false and fraudulent individual tax returns for herself for the tax years 2009 and 2010. The IRS issued refunds totaling $14,679 which she was not entitled to receive. Vick also created, and caused to be filed with the IRS, false and fraudulent individual income tax returns using the identities of others she did not have permission to prepare or file tax returns on behalf of and directed the refunds to herself for her personal use. In total, Vick received $307,231 as a result of false and fraudulent tax returns for the tax years 2009 and 2010.

Inmate Sentenced for Filing False Income Tax Returns for Fellow Prisoners
On March 5, 2015, in Cincinnati, Ohio, James Jeremy Savage, originally from Springfield, Ohio, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $148,307 in restitution to the IRS. Savage previously pleaded guilty to a multi-count indictment charging him with participating in a scheme to defraud the IRS by filing false claims for income tax refunds. From approximately October 2008 to August 2011, while incarcerated, Savage prepared fictitious income tax returns for fellow inmates. These income tax returns reported false wages, false federal income tax withholdings and false credits. Savage knew the inmates had not worked and, in some cases, had been incarcerated for multiple years. In many instances, Savage prepared multiple income tax returns for the inmates, including income tax returns for prior income tax years that had not been filed. In an effort to convince the inmates they were entitled to an income tax refund, Savage said the money was “free money,” a result of “stimulus money” provided by the President, as well as money from back taxes. Savage caused at least 99 false claims for income tax refunds to be filed with the IRS.

Business Operator Sentenced for Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme
On Feb. 27, 2015, in San Francisco, California, Mark R. Maness, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,176,668 in restitution to the IRS. On Nov. 18, 2014, Maness pleaded guilty to conspiracy to submit false claims. Maness and a partner operated a business named O.I.D. Process. Through the business, Maness and his partner aided and assisted in the preparation and filing of fraudulent U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns. Maness claimed fraudulent Original Issue Discount interest income and federal tax withholdings, resulting in claims for fraudulent federal income tax refunds. O.I.D. Process clients filed approximately 200 returns requesting fraudulent refunds totaling approximately $228 million. Maness and his partner charged clients a non-refundable registration fee to join the organization and a 20 percent “refund acquisition fee” for any refund check issued by the IRS. They also operated a website and conducted weekly conference calls with clients to offer advice and guidance on how to complete fraudulent tax returns. Clients were required to change their mailing addresses with the IRS to the address of an attorney in San Francisco, California, who was working with Maness and his partner, so that they could ensure receipt of their 20 percent refund acquisition fee.

Two Tax Preparers and Client Sentenced in Fraudulent Refund Scheme
On Feb. 27, 2015, in Miami, Florida, three Miami residents were sentenced for their roles in a tax refund scheme. Sean Anthony Lopez was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $695,635 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury. Lopez’s co-defendants, Claudia Zuloaga and Sharon Elizabeth Angulo, operated a South Miami-Dade tax preparation business under the names Sterling Executive Associates Inc. and Sterling Executive, and assisted Lopez in the preparation of his fraudulent tax returns, as well as numerous other false tax returns. Angulo and Zuloaga were each previously sentenced to serve 60 months in prison and each ordered to pay $1,539,873 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury. From about September 2008 and through September 2012, Zuloaga and Angulo recruited clients, including Lopez, by falsely representing they could eliminate a substantial portion of their debts by obtaining sizable tax refunds for them. This would be accomplished through false and fraudulent tax returns prepared by Zuloaga and Angulo in exchange for a fee, usually 30 percent of the fraudulently obtained tax refund. The defendants caused fictitious IRS Forms 1099-OID to be created, which set forth false interest and tax withholding amounts fraudulently reported upon their clients’ tax returns. Zuloaga and Angulo promoted a fictitious “redemption theory” to their clients as the purported justification for their fraudulent tax refund claims. Clients were falsely informed that the submission of tax returns in this manner allowed their clients to legitimately access large amounts of money allegedly contained in certain non-existent “straw man” accounts which the defendants claimed were being maintained by the U.S. Treasury for each individual who possessed a social security number. Zuloaga and Angulo were responsible for causing the submission of multiple fraudulent tax returns claiming refunds totaling in excess of $5.4 million and the IRS was fraudulently induced to issue refund checks in the aggregate amount of $2,305,081, a portion of which was disbursed to Lopez with respect to his fraudulent tax returns.

Two Florida Men Sentenced for Stealing Identities and Filing False Tax Returns
On Feb. 27, 2015, in St. Louis, Missouri, Terrell Langston, of Miami, Florida, and Montrail Austin, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, were sentenced for their roles in a stolen identity tax refund scam. Langston was sentenced to 72 months in prison and Austin was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Both men were jointly ordered to repay the $492,868 loss to the U.S. government caused by their offense. On Dec. 1, 2014, Langston pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal government funds and aggravated identity theft. Austin pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft on the same date. Langston ran an identity theft ring from his residence in Tallahassee, Florida between February 2012 and May 2013. Langston used stolen names and identifiers to file false and fraudulent federal tax returns in the names of others. Langston enlisted Austin and others to coordinate the collection of the refunds at addresses in Florida, Missouri and elsewhere. It was Langston’s desire for refunds to be distributed to many addresses to avoid suspicion. In exchange for Austin’s help in coordinating others to receive and liquidate refunds, they received a share of the proceeds of the crime. Langston and his co-conspirators filed more than 450 returns for the 2011 and 2012 tax years claiming more than $2.2 million dollars in refunds. The IRS paid out $492,868 of the claimed refunds.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Participation in Nationwide Tax Return Scam
On Feb. 24, 2015, in Concord, New Hampshire, Ann Marie Howard Aguiar, of Jacksonville, Florida was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Aguiar previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Aguiar participated in a scheme organized by Craig S. Cudhea, a former Nashua, New Hampshire resident, to file a large number of false tax returns claiming refunds to which the persons in whose names the returns were filed were not entitled. Cudhea recruited a nationwide network of pastors to solicit members of their congregations to provide their names and social security numbers on the false pretense that their personal identifying information would be used to secure stimulus funds that the government was giving to the poor, disabled and unemployed. The pastors led churches in Virginia, Georgia, New York, Texas, South Carolina, Arkansas, Ohio and Nevada. Many congregants at these churches, consisting mostly of low-income individuals with limited experience with the IRS, provided their personal identifying information and the pastors forwarded that information to Cudhea. The personal information was then transmitted to approximately eight women around the country who had been recruited via the Internet to enter the information on electronic tax returns. Aguiar was one of the women recruited and was instructed to report false information on the tax returns, including specific income amounts, withholding, and expenses such as education and child care that would generate credits and refunds. The information reported was always very similar and often identical. Although Aguiar was aware that the financial information she reported was false, she prepared and electronically filed the tax returns with the IRS.  

Puerto Rico Woman Sentenced in Identity Theft and Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Feb. 13, 2015, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Allison González-Martínez was sentenced to 45 months in prison and three years of supervised release for stealing United States Treasury refund checks in connection with fraudulently filed tax returns. González-Martínez was found guilty at trial of knowingly and willfully stealing 21 United States Treasury refund checks totaling $153,897, and attempting to steal another check. According to court documents, from approximately November 2011 through May 2012, González-Martínez used third-party personal identifier information to deposit 21 United States Treasury refund checks into her bank account for her personal benefit.

Former County Jail Inmate Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On Feb. 10, 2015, in Phoenix, Arizona, Steven Scott Pearce, of Phoenix, was sentenced to 33 months in prison for preparing false tax refund claims while incarcerated at the Maricopa County Jail. Pearce pleaded guilty on Oct. 7, 2014, to conspiracy to file false claims. Pearce admitted preparing federal income tax returns using other inmates’ names, social security numbers, and dates of birth, and then listing false income and tax withholding so that the IRS would issue a false refund. Pearce worked with others inside and outside the jail to help prepare the tax returns, mail the returns to the IRS, and cash refund checks. Pearce prepared at least 17 tax returns claiming a total of approximately $285,000 in false tax refunds. Most of the false tax refunds were identified before refunds were issued and Pearce claimed at sentencing that he did not receive any profits. At the time, Pearce was serving a five year state prison sentence for unrelated crimes. Pearce’s 33-month sentence for the tax fraud scheme will be served consecutive to his state prison sentence.

California Resident Sentenced for Massive Tax Refund Scheme
On Feb. 9, 2015, in Los Angeles, California, Demetrius A. Wyatt, of Perris, California, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution to the IRS. Wyatt pleaded guilty in August 2014 to making and presenting false claims to an agency of the United States government and subscribing to a false tax return. Over a four-year period, Wyatt filed more than 390 bogus tax returns, each of which was filed in the name of a person whose identity had been used without his or her knowledge. Wyatt opened back accounts in the names of the victims for the bogus returns and succeeded in obtaining more than $1.4 million in refunds. Wyatt obtained the identity profiles used on the fraudulent returns from several sources, including from individuals who worked in government offices and other individuals who worked in healthcare facilities. In addition to filing fraudulent tax returns and obtaining tax refunds in the names of other individuals, Wyatt filed his own federal income tax returns claiming false dependents and failing to report the income received from the fraudulent return scheme. Specifically, Wyatt’s failure to report his true income during the years 2006 -2009 resulted in an aggregate tax loss to the government of approximately $360,000.

Washington Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud Conspiracy
Feb. 5, 2015, in Spokane, Washington, Patricia A. Nowlin, of Yakima, Washington, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiring to defraud the United States by preparing and filing false claims for income tax refunds.  Restitution will to be determined at a later date. Nowlin prepared approximately 497 income tax returns that contained false information and were designed to illegally obtain approximately $2,740,135 in refunds. Nowlin and her conspirators obtained the personal information of other individuals and then used that information to file false claims for tax refunds. As part of the scheme, Nowlin falsely claimed refundable tax credits on tax returns she prepared and falsely reported dependents for customers who had no dependents or falsely inflated the number of dependents. Nowlin also falsely reported the customers’ mailing addresses on the tax returns so fraudulently-obtained refund checks would be mailed to an address that she and her conspirators controlled. Nowlin charged customers $1,000 to $2,500 to prepare their tax returns. She also paid co-conspirators $100 for recruiting customers.

Healthcare Company Employee Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On Feb. 4, 2015, in Tampa, Florida, Tavia Lamonica Ball was sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay a $405,169 money judgment. Ball pleaded guilty on Aug. 4, 2014 to conspiracy to commit tax fraud and aggravated identity theft. Ball was an employee of Amerigroup, a managed health care company that serves more than 4.5 million beneficiaries of state-sponsored health plans, including Medicaid. In her capacity at Amerigroup, Ball had access to the company’s member database, as well as members’ personally identifying information (PII). Ball and others conspired to steal the PII and electronically file fraudulent federal income tax returns in order to obtain refunds to which they were not entitled. The conspirators directed some of the fraudulently obtained refunds to be deposited onto reloadable debit cards and then purchased money orders and goods for their own benefit and the benefit of others. The government estimates that the actual loss associated with this conspiracy is at least $405,169. The conspirators filed false tax returns claiming at least $657,087.  

Florida Man Sentenced for Stealing Retirement Funds, Insurance Proceeds and Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns
On Jan. 28, 2015, in Orlando, Florida, Joseph Witchard, of Orlando, was sentenced to 331 months in prison and ordered to pay $145,673 in restitution to his victims. A federal jury found Witchard guilty on Nov. 4, 2014 for mail fraud, filing false claims against the United States, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. Witchard orchestrated two mail fraud schemes, one to steal retirement funds and life insurance proceeds, and another to file fraudulent tax returns. During both schemes, he used identities that had been stolen from a variety of sources. The personal identifying information of more than 60 victims was found during a search of Witchard’s residence in February 2010. Witchard, and others, negotiated the retirement, life insurance, and tax refund checks at local businesses, including car dealerships.

Kentucky Man Sentenced for Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On Jan. 28, 2015, in Lexington, Kentucky, David C. Pierce was sentenced to 175 months in prison and ordered to pay $636,379 in restitution. Of that amount, Pierce and another co-defendant are jointly liable for $107,500. Pierce previously pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiring to defraud the United States. Pierce created false tax returns in the names of other members of his conspiracy and other individuals whose identities were stolen and supplied to him by his co-conspirators. Pierce invented details about the taxpayers and then filed these returns with the IRS, requesting that the tax refunds be directed to addresses and bank accounts belonging to him and other members of the conspiracy. During a two-year span, Pierce fraudulently claimed over $3.7 million in tax refunds. Three of Pierce’s co-conspirators have also been sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy: Timothy Richard Smith was sentenced to 70 months in prison, Joyce Ann Estes was sentenced to 51 months in prison and Stephen Lane Woodrum was sentenced to 48 months in prison. The final co-conspirator, Dwayne Ray Smith, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to defraud the United States. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Identity Theft and Filing False Returns
On Jan. 28, 2015, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Liberado Peralta, of Allentown, was sentenced to 25 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $598,270 in restitution to the IRS. Peralta previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims and three counts of aggravated identity theft. From around June 27, 2011 until about June 22, 2012, Peralta and other conspirators defrauded the United States by obtaining, and aiding others to obtain, undeserved federal income tax refunds by presenting false tax returns to the IRS and fraudulently obtaining tax refund checks. Peralta and the others obtained the tax refunds by filing false income tax returns using the stolen social security numbers of Puerto Rican residents. Peralta and the conspirators claimed that the individual identified on the tax return resided in or around Allentown, Pennsylvania, and requested that the IRS send tax refund checks to those addresses.  

Missouri Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme, Stealing Clients' Refunds
On Jan. 27, 2015, in Kansas City, Missouri, Dinette Kay Cadenhead, aka Kay Taylor, of Kansas City, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $14,082 in restitution to the IRS. On July 16, 2014, Cadenhead pleaded guilty to the theft of public money. According to court documents, Cadenhead prepared federal income tax returns for clients containing material false and fraudulent claims. She assisted at least 12 individuals to file at least 29 false and fraudulent income tax returns for the tax years 2008 through 2010. The tax loss associated with those false returns is $109,627. The aggregate tax loss, including relevant conduct is $134,237. Cadenhead utilized false deductions to increase her clients’ refunds. Cadenhead charged her clients a return preparation fee of between $65 and $600 per return. However, without the knowledge of nine of her clients, Cadenhead diverted a portion of the fraudulent refund into her own bank account, which increased the amount she actually received for each return. Cadenhead admitted that she stole portions of her clients’ inflated tax refunds, totaling $14,082, between Feb. 12, 2010, and March 14, 2012.

Tax Preparer Sentenced for Preparing False Tax Returns and Identity Theft
On Jan. 26, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Rony Maurival, a Fort Pierce tax preparer, was sentenced to 81 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $349,992 in restitution to the IRS. On Nov. 17, 2014, Maurival pleaded guilty filing false tax returns, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. From July 2008 to March 2012, Maurival owned and operated “RJ’s Tax & Services,” a tax return preparation business located in Fort Pierce. Maurival admitted to adding false wage and income information to his client’s tax returns in order to illegally maximize the earned income tax credit (EITC) claimed on their tax returns. Maurival admitted that his actions resulted in a tax loss to the IRS of between $1 million and $2.5 million. Maurival also admitted to filing his own false tax returns for years 2009 and 2010. Specifically, Maurival admitted to not reporting more than $250,000 in tax preparation fee income earned through his business in those years. Maurival further admitted to using stolen identity information to file false tax returns with the IRS in order to steal money from the United States. In doing so, he would direct the false tax refunds to bank accounts that he controlled.

California Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On Jan. 26, 2015, in Los Angeles, California, Benjamin Demetrio, also known as Antero Diaz-Diaz, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $293,719 to the IRS. Demetrio pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims. During the years 2007 and 2008, Demetrio along with his son, Ulises Demetrio Rivera, rented private mail boxes at various locations in southern California using false identification documents. The co-defendants further listed the names of Puerto Rican residents as persons authorized to receive mail at the boxes that were rented. Subsequently, approximately 537 IRS tax returns in the names of approximately 157 individuals were filed with the IRS for the tax years 2004 through 2006, seeking earned income tax refunds based on the miscellaneous income reported and the number of dependents claimed on the tax returns. As a result of these filings, the IRS issued and mailed approximately $293,719 in tax refund checks to the private mail boxes rented by Demetrio and his son. In July 2008, a search of Demetrio’s residence, and a storage unit rented by the defendant, revealed documents listing the names, dates of birth and social security numbers of individuals who were authorized recipients of mail on the mail boxes and had a false tax return filed using their name. Also found were false identification documents bearing Demetrio’s photograph. Ulises Demetrio Rivera pleaded guilty to both conspiracy and aggravated identity theft and was sentenced in July to 36 months in prison and also ordered to pay restitution of $293,719.

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Tax Refund Scheme
On Jan. 22, 2015, in Reading, Pennsylvania, Andy O. Rodriguez, of Allentown, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $2,904,783. In August 2014, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to 23 counts of making false claims against the United States. Between Aug. 17, 2010 and Jan. 31, 2012, Rodriguez knowingly filed false tax returns with the IRS claiming refunds in the names of other individuals. The returns included W-2 forms falsely claiming that taxes were withheld by various employers. The IRS identified more than 600 false returns that were associated with this scheme.  

Minnesota Man Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns and Identity Theft
On Jan. 21, 2015 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Dusten Lee Barth was sentenced to 65 months in prison and ordered to pay $48,000 in restitution.  Barth pleaded guilty on July 1, 2014, to filing a false claim and aggravated identity theft. According to his guilty plea, Barth prepared and submitted approximately 10 fraudulent tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service claiming more than $43,000 in false tax refunds. Barth used the identities of individuals that he knew were unable to lawfully consent to the use of their identities for the filing of false tax returns, and also stole the identity of at least one individual without his/her consent for the purpose of filing a false tax return.

Minnesota Man Sentenced After Attempting to Claim False Refunds and Identity Theft
On Jan. 20, 2015, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Tony Terrel Robinson was sentenced to 84 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $193,209 in restitution. Robinson pleaded guilty on Oct. 16, 2014 to conspiracy and false claims charges. According to court documents, from October 2009 and continuing through at least August 2010, co-defendant Tanka James Tetzlaff and Robinson, while incarcerated by the state of Minnesota in the Faribault Correctional Facility, attempted to claim over $500,000 of false tax refunds to the IRS. Tetzlaff is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date.

California Man Sentenced for Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme
On Jan. 20, 2015, in Fresno, California, Federico Garcia Garcia, of Arvin, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $79,932 in restitution to the IRS. Between October 2007 and December 2008, Garcia caused 147 false federal income tax returns to be submitted to the IRS in the names of third parties, in a scheme to obtain tax refund checks. The tax returns were submitted to the IRS with fabricated Forms W-2 containing false wage and withholding information. Garcia made fraudulent claims for approximately $308,317 in federal tax refunds in the scheme.

California Woman Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns Using Stolen Identities
On Jan. 20, 2015, in Fresno, California, Rebekah Root, of Visalia, was sentenced to 45 months in prison for wire fraud, making a false claim for a tax refund, and aggravated identity theft. In 2011, Root obtained tax documents that were stolen from an IRS office in Visalia. She used those tax documents to submit false tax returns on behalf of six taxpayers, without their knowledge or permission, and claimed approximately $50,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.

North Texas Man Sentenced for Role in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Conspiracy
On Jan. 5, 2015, in Dallas, Texas, Tonderai Sakupwanya was sentenced to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in restitution. Sakupwanya pleaded guilty in May 2014 to theft of public funds. Co-defendant Reminico Zhangazha pleaded guilty to the same offense and is awaiting sentencing. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 120 months in prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution could be ordered. The plea agreements with the government note that the defendants will forfeit the following property seized by law enforcement in May 2012 during the investigation of this case: $10,613 cash seized from Zhangazha’s vehicle; $93,513 cash from an apartment on Noel Road in Dallas; and $4,500 from a residence in Plano, Texas. Zhangazha and Sakupwanya engaged in a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service by obtaining stolen tax refunds that were generated by e-filing false and fraudulent income tax returns. They rented private mailboxes in the names of aliases by using forged United Kingdom passports. They then established bank accounts using the alias names and mailing addresses acquired at the private mailboxes. After the checks were deposited, or the tax refunds electronically deposited, the defendants would withdraw the funds for their own use and benefit.

Florida Resident Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Dec. 22, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Jude Estama, of Pembroke Pines, was sentenced to 87 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $759,992 in restitution. Estama previously pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, from January 2008 through August 2012, Estama engaged in an identity theft tax refund fraud scheme. In furtherance of the scheme, Estama opened and controlled bank accounts at various banks in his own name and in the name of two corporations that listed him as president. Estama caused fraudulent individual income tax returns to be filed with the IRS using the identity information primarily of high school students and deceased persons. The defendant caused refund monies to be direct deposited to the bank accounts he controlled, and he withdrew money from these refunds for his own personal use and benefit.

Texas Man Sentenced for Role in Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Dec. 19, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas, Abasi Paki Brown was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $78,258 in restitution. Brown pleaded guilty to mail fraud on Sept. 16, 2014. According to court documents, from about Jan. 1, 2011, to about Aug. 31, 2011, Brown obtained the personal identifiable information (PII) of certain individuals. Brown then used the PII to file fraudulent federal income tax returns through Electronic Return Originators (EROs) using various computers and selected the debit card option. Based on the fraudulent tax returns, funds were deposited into an account associated with the refund and debit cards were mailed, via the US Postal Service, to the addresses provided by Brown. Once Brown received the debit cards, he used them to purchase items or withdraw cash from ATM machines.

Alabama Man Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Using Names Stolen from Nursing Homes
On Dec. 18, 2014, in Montgomery, Alabama, Charlie Jackson, of Pike Road, was sentenced to serve 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release and pay $98,177 in restitution. Jackson pleaded guilty on May 5, 2014, to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, from October 2010 up until April 2013, Jackson was involved in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud crimes by using stolen identities to steal money from the IRS by filing fraudulent tax returns claiming refunds in the victims’ names. He obtained stolen identities from various sources, including from nursing homes. Many of the returns were detected as fraudulent by the IRS and were not issued.

Medical Clerk Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Dec. 18, 2014, in Montgomery, Alabama, Sasha Webb was sentenced to 70 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $528,823 in restitution for her involvement in a stolen identity tax refund fraud (SIRF) scheme. According to court documents, Webb worked as a medical records clerk at an Alabama Department of Corrections facility where she had access to identification information of inmates from databases maintained by the Alabama Department of Corrections. On several occasions in 2009 and 2010, Webb stole identities from those databases and sold them to Harvey James and his sister, Jacqueline Slaton, for the purpose of filing false tax returns. Between 2010 and 2012, James and Slaton used stolen identities to file more than 1,000 false federal and state tax returns. Vernon Harrison, a U.S. Postal Service employee, was recruited into the scheme so that prepaid debit cards and state tax refund checks could be mailed to addresses that Harrison provided from his postal route. Harrison collected the debit cards and checks and provided them to Gregory Slaton who in turn gave them to James and Jacqueline Slaton. Harrison was sentenced on Oct. 31, 2013; James was sentenced on April 29, 2014; Jacqueline Slaton was sentenced on Oct. 23, 2012; and Gregory Slaton was sentenced on Oct. 28, 2014.

Florida Man Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Check Cashing Scam
On Dec. 17, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Christopher Jackson was sentenced to 78 months in prison and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud, for participation in a tax refund scheme. According to court documents, starting around January 2012 through around April 2014, Jackson obtained more than 500 fraudulently obtained U.S. Department of Treasury tax refund checks. Jackson subsequently sent the tax refund checks to a check casher in Cincinnati for cashing. The check casher then mailed cash back for these checks to Jackson in Miami. Jackson did not have the authorization of the taxpayer and supplied either false identification documents or no identification documents to the Cincinnati check casher. Many of the tax refund checks had been obtained using the identity information of people who typically do not file tax returns, such as deceased persons, prisoners, and elderly individuals.

Five Rhode Island Residents Sentenced in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Dec. 17, 2014, in Providence, Rhode Island, Casimiro Santos was sentenced to 24 months and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $211,141. Santos pleaded guilty on May 12, 2014, to theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. Santos is the last of five individuals to be sentenced for their involvement in a tax refund fraud scheme which used stolen and fraudulent identifying information of hundreds of individuals and businesses to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. The others were sentenced as follows:
• Jairo Morales was sentenced on June 24, 2014, to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $385,533.
• Julianna Martins was sentenced on Sept. 29, 2014, to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $385,533.
• Maria Paulino was sentenced on June 24, 2014, to three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution of $92,970.
• Lucia Morales was sentenced on June 26, 2014, to three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution of $82,183.
According to court documents, Morales and Julianna Martins orchestrated the stolen identity tax refund scheme which resulted in the filing of false federal income tax returns and fictitious W-2 forms. Fraudulently obtained tax refund checks were sent to multiple Providence addresses under the control of Morales and Martins. Morales, Martins, Lucia Morales, Casimiro Santos and others, deposited United States Treasury checks into various bank accounts controlled by the defendants. Maria Paulino, a bank teller, assisted Martins in opening bank accounts using fraudulent identity information and negotiated checks on behalf of Morales, Martins, and their associates.

Former U.S. Postal Worker and Others Sentenced For Fraudulent Income Tax Refund Scheme
On Dec. 16, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia, Kenneth Campbell, a/k/a “Scrilla,” Corey Thomas, a/k/a “Lil Corey,” Adrian Bridges, Juarez Johnson, Justin Cody, a/k/a “Decatur Slim,” and Aeshia Wilmore were sentenced for their roles in a fraudulent income tax refund scheme. According to information presented in court, from about July 2012 to October 2013, the defendants participated in a scheme to defraud the US Department of the Treasury and the Michigan Department of Revenue by filing hundreds of fraudulent income tax returns using stolen identities. Campbell and Thomas used stolen personal identification information of hundreds of victims, along with fake wage and withholding information, to prepare numerous fraudulent tax returns. After the refunds were processed, Campbell and Thomas had the refunds applied to blank prepaid debit cards that they later used for their own benefit. In order to increase the number of fraudulent tax refunds that they could receive at one time, Campbell and Thomas had the prepaid debit cards mailed to different addresses throughout the Atlanta area. Many of these addresses were associated with an apartment complex in Cobb County, Georgia, where Bridges served as a mail carrier for the US Postal Service. Working at the direction of Campbell, Bridges would retrieve the debit cards from the mail and deliver them to Campbell. During the course of the scheme, Campbell recruited Johnson, then an employee of the Fulton County Georgia Superior Court Clerk's Office, to provide him with stolen identity information. In September 2013, Johnson accessed county databases on several occasions to obtain identity information for dozens of people who had been booked into the Fulton County Georgia jail. Johnson later provided this identity information to Campbell. Campbell also worked with other individuals to file fraudulent federal and state tax returns, including Cody. In a related case, Cody and his wife, Aeshia Wilmore, were charged for their involvement in a scheme similar to Campbell’s where they claimed fraudulent tax refunds. The defendants were convicted and sentenced as described below:
• Campbell was sentenced to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $139,610 in restitution. Campbell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.
• Thomas was sentenced to serve 61 months in prison and ordered to pay $114,754 in restitution. Thomas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft
• Bridges was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $81,878 in restitution. Bridges pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail theft.
• Johnson was sentenced to 12 months of probation after pleading guilty to identity theft.
• Cody was sentenced to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $150,329 in restitution. Cody pleaded guilty to theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft
• Wilmore was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $150,329 in restitution. Wilmore pleaded guilty to theft of government funds.

Texan Sentenced for Using Stolen Personal Identity Information and Fabricated Documents to Defraud the IRS
On Dec. 15, 2014, in Wichita Falls, Texas, Bobby J. Hicks, Jr. was sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay approximately $114,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Hicks Jr. pleaded guilty in August 2014 to one count of wire fraud. According to court documents, Hicks ran his scheme from 2009 through approximately mid-February 2011. During that time Hicks submitted 15 fraudulent returns 11 of which were submitted electronically. In one instance, in January 2010, Hicks submitted a Form 1040EZ income tax return in the name of an individual Hick met in 2009 in Wichita Falls and had hired to do day labor. In connection with that labor, the individual had provided Hicks his social security number, but he did not authorize Hicks to use it or to submit a tax return in his name. As part of his scheme, Hicks also stole the identities of family members, including the identity of his deceased mother.

Former Alabama Hospital Employee Sentenced for Identity Theft
On Dec. 12, 2014, in Montgomery, Alabama, Kamarian D. Millender was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $18,915 in restitution. On July 8, 2014, Millender pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Millender worked as a lab technician at a medical facility in the Dothan, Alabama area. He and others stole patient medical records that contained personal identification information, which Millender then used to file false tax returns in order to obtain fraudulent tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Millender’s actions aided in the filing of more than 100 false federal tax returns which victimized approximately 73 individuals.

Ohio Man Sentenced for Identity Theft and Tax Fraud
On Dec. 12, 2014, in Youngstown, Ohio, Brent R. Willis, of Lorain, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Willis was previously found guilty of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Willis fraudulently obtained the identities of 57 people, without their knowledge or permission, from various sources, between January and April 2013. He then purchased approximately 57 prepaid debit cards in their names at stores in and around Lorain. Willis prepared 57 false personnel income tax returns in the names of the identity theft victims.

Several Members of Million Dollar Tax Fraud Ring Sentenced
On Dec. 10, 2014, in Memphis, Tennessee, Melissa Harris was sentenced to 102 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,131,780 in restitution to the IRS. Harris previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, theft of government money and aggravated identity theft. Two others have also been sentenced. On Dec. 9, 2014, Erin Crutcher was sentenced to 48 months in prison, two years of supervised release and was ordered to pay restitution of $332,949. On Dec. 2, 2014, Breunca Sutton was sentenced to 45 months in prison, three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay restitution of $359,254. Three other members have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. All had been charged in a 41-count federal indictment for stealing government funds through the filing of false income tax returns and identity theft. According to court documents, between Aug. 6, 2010, and July 27, 2011, Harris, Crutcher, and other individuals unlawfully obtained personal identifying information of victims, including high school students, and used this information to electronically file false federal income tax returns claiming refund amounts. Harris paid a juvenile to steal rosters containing students’ personal information from Memphis high schools. Using this information, Harris and Crutcher filed over 800 false returns and directed generated refunds into the bank accounts of Jacocks, Sutton, Freeman, and Sholar. All of the conspirators received part of the refunds for their personal benefit and use.

Utah Accountant Sentenced for Filing Over $9 Million in False Tax Refund Claims
On Dec. 9, 2014, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Dick Reid Jenkins was sentenced to 78 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $250,340 in restitution to the IRS. In June 2014, Jenkins, a certified public accountant, was convicted at trial of 18 counts of filing false claims for tax refunds and one count of presenting a fictitious financial instrument to the United States. According to court documents and the proof at trial, in September 2008, Jenkins filed a false individual income tax return for himself for tax year 2007 which claimed an income tax refund of $402,920. Then, in October 2008, Jenkins filed a false amended 2004 individual income tax return, which claimed an income tax refund of $434,261. Both false claims were based on the use of a falsified IRS Form 1099-OID (Original Issue Discount), which is a form of accrued interest. In addition to his own false returns, from September 2008 through February 2009, Jenkins caused 16 other false federal individual income tax returns to be filed on behalf of other individuals. These false tax returns also used false Forms 1099-OID. Additionally, on June 30, 2008, Jenkins presented a false and fictitious financial instrument to the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the amount of $300 million.

Ohio Woman Sentenced for Tax Crimes Conspiracy
On Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio, Gwendolyn N. White was sentenced to 47 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $342,365 in restitution. White was previously found guilty of one count of conspiracy to file false claims for income tax refunds with the IRS and ten counts of filing false claims for refunds with the IRS. According to court documents, White participated in a tax crimes conspiracy that used false identities, including those of people incarcerated. White, at the direction of Kenneth White and for a fee, prepared and electronically filed 10 false income tax returns for the year 2008 in the name of the claimants. Kenneth White recruited people to use as claimants on some false tax returns, often with the promise of substantial refunds. White also obtained names, social security numbers and other personal identifiers of other people to use as claimants, including people in prison or jail. In some cases, this was done without the knowledge or consent of these other people. Kenneth White’s sentencing has been scheduled.

Rhode Island Pair Sentenced for Identity Theft, Fraudulent Tax Return Scheme
On Dec. 4, 2014, in Providence, Rhode Island, Richard Lara, was sentenced to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a scheme in which personal identifying information of more than 1,200 individuals was stolen, many of which were used to file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS. On Dec. 5, 2014, Julian Balbi, a co-defendant in this matter, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Lara and Balbi previously pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated identity theft and one count each of conspiracy and theft of government property. According to court documents, Lara and Balbi were arrested on January 2, 2012, on an unrelated matter during a routine traffic stop. In the vehicle, which was owned by Balbi, several ledgers and notebooks containing personal identifying information were discovered along with a USB flash drive containing numerous spreadsheets detailing taxpayer information and fraudulent tax returns and 87 U.S. Treasury checks made out to third parties. Computers and flash drives in Balbi’s residence revealed numerous spreadsheets containing ledgers identical to those on the flash drive seized from the vehicle. In Lara’s residence, an additional ledger was discovered which contained personal identity information matching the information contained on the flash drive seized from Balbi’s vehicle.

Man Sentenced to Prison for Wire Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
On Dec. 4, 2014, in Norfolk, Virginia, Donte Demus, was sentenced to 54 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $144,841 in restitution. Demus pleaded guilty on Sept. 3, 2014, to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. A co-conspirator, Travis Hager, was sentenced on Oct. 2, 2014 to 54 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $144,841.00. According to court records, Demus, along with Hager, stole the identities of individuals and used them to file false tax returns. While incarcerated in Virginia Beach, Hager stole the identities of a number of fellow inmates and provided them to Demus who then used them to file fraudulent tax returns in their names and have IRS issue refunds directly to him.

Two Sentenced in Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Dec. 4, 2014, in Jacksonville, Florida, Roberto Bisono and Juan Miguel Ruiz were sentenced for their roles in a conspiracy involving theft of government property and cashing numerous false and fraudulently filed federal income tax refund checks. Bisono and Ruiz were sentenced to 18 months and 15 months in prison, respectively. Both were also ordered to pay $711,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. According to court records, between November 2011 and April 2012, Bisono obtained U.S. Treasury checks that had been mailed to bogus taxpayers in the Bronx, New York. These checks were the results of false and fraudulently filed tax returns. In November 2011, Bisono deposited the first seven checks into a business bank account that belonged to Ruiz. He later furnished the remaining 104 checks to Ruiz, who operated a check cashing business in Jacksonville. Ruiz deposited the additional checks into his business bank account and wrote checks totaling over $227,000 to Bisono and others associated with Bisono.

Defendant Sentenced for Money Laundering Charge Involving Tax Fraud
On Dec. 8, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Price Jules, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, and three years of supervised release. Jules previously pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering. According to court documents, the IRS uncovered a pattern of approximately 1,285 attempted fraudulent tax claims seeking approximately $5.7 million in refunds. There were approximately $629,942 in cash withdrawals and approximately $34,000 in ATM withdrawals from the bank accounts that Jules controlled. Jules knew that the laundered money was the proceeds of tax fraud because he received approximately $180,000 of tax fraud directly into his personal E-Trade account and approximately $73,000 into his personal bank account. In addition, Jules spoke about engaging in tax fraud and offered to launder the proceeds of tax fraud for a fee. None of the individuals or estates of individuals listed on the tax returns received any money.

Tax Consultant Sentenced in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
On Dec. 2, 2014, in Jacksonville, Florida, Deangelo Parker was sentenced to 42 months in prison, ordered to forfeit $43,335 and to pay $120,144 in restitution. Parker pleaded guilty on July 11, 2014 to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Parker stole personal identifying information, including names and Social Security numbers, from multiple individuals who sought tax consulting services from his company, Certified Tax Consultants. From January 2012 through February 2012, Parker used this personal identifying information to electronically file 51 fraudulent tax returns, in which he claimed $209,638 in tax refunds. The refunds were then deposited directly into his business bank account.

New York Man Sentenced in Tax Scheme
On Dec. 1, 2014, in Rochester, New York, Norman Perry was sentenced to 90 months in prison and ordered to pay $135,743 in restitution to the IRS. According to court documents, Perry posted advertisements claiming he could find lost or unclaimed funds. Individuals provided Perry with their name, address and social security number and agreed to pay Perry a fee, generally in the amount of $300, for each $1,000 check they received. In reality, Perry used the information to prepare and file false and fraudulent tax returns claiming the individuals had qualified educational expenditures and were entitled to receive the American Opportunity Credit, a refundable tax credit for educational expenses. None of the individuals were students, none had incurred any educational expenditures and none provided such information to Perry. In addition, Perry filed a false tax return with the IRS in another individual’s name, and had the check sent to an address in Rochester. The check was subsequently cashed.

Georgia Man Sentenced for Committing Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On Nov. 26, 2014, in Lexington, Kentucky, James Changala Kaira, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, was sentenced to 87 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $588,129 in restitution. According to court documents, from January 2013 until March 2014, Kaira filed false tax returns using the identities of other taxpayers without their knowledge. In some circumstances, he obtained the tax refund checks. He then forged the taxpayers’ signatures on the checks and cashed them at a money services business located in Lexington. In addition, between February and March 2014, Kaira committed bank fraud by using the false tax returns to obtain refund anticipation loans from one of several financial institutions.

Former Postal Employee and Conspirators Sentenced in Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme
On Nov. 26, 2014, in Tallahassee, Florida, Rashad Lamond Anderson, of Tampa, Annecia Bellandra Larkins and Tavin Gernard Larkins, both of Havana, and Almecia Endelease Pillers, of Quincy, were sentenced after pleading guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States, theft of government property, and aggravated identity theft charges. Anderson was sentenced to 64 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Annecia Larkins was sentenced to 48 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Tavin Larkins was sentenced to 12 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Pillers was sentenced to 12 months of probation. The defendants were also ordered to pay $625,924 in restitution. According to court documents, between November 2011 and July 2012, the defendants conspired to cash United States Treasury checks they obtained using stolen personal identifying information in the filing of fraudulent income tax returns with the IRS. Anderson delivered the fraudulently obtained Treasury checks to Annecia Larkins, who was employed as a clerk with the United States Postal Service. Annecia Larkins then converted the fraudulently obtained Treasury checks into Postal Money Orders (PMOs), keeping $2,000 for each Treasury check she negotiated before delivering the remaining PMOs to Anderson. In an effort to further conceal the fraud, Annecia Larkins enlisted the assistance of her husband, Tavin Larkins, and her sister, Almecia Pillers, to deposit her share of the proceeds into their respective bank accounts.

Citizen of Zimbabwe Sentenced for Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On Nov. 25, 2014, in Wilmington, Delaware, Tendayi Mandere, of Zimbabwe, was sentenced to 64 months in prison and ordered to pay $114,000 in restitution to the IRS. In April 2014, Mandere pleaded guilty to false claims conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Mandere participated in a tax fraud conspiracy involving the filing of more than 130 false individual federal income tax returns with the IRS. Mandere obtained the names and social security numbers of real individuals from his co-conspirators, and he used them to electronically file false tax returns via the internet. Mandere fabricated the wage and withholding information on the returns.

Florida Man Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme Involving Thousands of Individuals’ Personal Identifying Information
On Nov. 19, 2014 in Miami, Florida, William Hernandez, of Miami, was sentenced to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Hernandez pleaded guilty to possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, on Oct. 17, 2013, a cooperating defendant advised the IRS that Hernandez sold him personal identifying information (PII) that he used as part of a stolen identity refund fraud scheme internally referred to as “the lotto scheme.” The lotto scheme listed the same address for unrelated taxpayers and the tax returns contained Forms W-2G, purportedly issued by the Florida Department of the Lottery, for alleged lottery winnings. On or around Jan. 18, 2012, a lotto scheme tax return for tax year 2011 was filed with Hernandez’s PII requesting an $18,744 tax refund. Hernandez later admitted that cooperating defendant filed a false return for Hernandez using the lotto scheme because Hernandez needed money. IRS executed a search warrant at Hernandez’s residence and found thousands of PII. Hernandez told the IRS that he allowed the cooperating defendant to open a tax business in Hernandez’s name using Hernandez’s grandmother’s address. Hernandez also said that the stolen identities and identifying information in his possession were “for real people.” Some of the identities were for individuals who were “old” and some were for individuals who were deceased. Additionally, Hernandez admitted he knew that the stolen identities were being utilized for tax returns.

Louisiana Tax Return Preparer, 12 Co-Defendants Sentenced For $10 Million Tax Fraud, Money Laundering Conspiracies
On Nov. 19, 2014, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Jacqueline J. Arias, a tax return preparer from Spruce Pine, Alabama, was sentenced to 97 months in prison, three years of supervised release and restitution of $10,589,326 for her role in filing false tax returns and money laundering. Arias was also ordered to forfeit nearly $400,000 in cash. On July 8, 2014, Arias pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, mail fraud and money laundering. According to court documents, Arias participated in a years-long scheme to defraud the United States by filing false income tax returns that fraudulently claimed large tax refunds. Arias, her husband, and 19 other individuals, all of whom were foreign nationals, as well as her tax preparation business were charged as part of the case. Sixteen defendants have pleaded guilty, four remain fugitives overseas, and one defendant, who was recently arrested in Panama, is scheduled for trial. The following defendants were already sentenced.
• Cesar Alejandro Soriano (42 Months);
• Oscar Armando Perdomo (42 Months);
• Yoni Perdomo (38 Months);
• Arnulfo Santos-Medrado (38 Months);
• Elsides Edgardo Alvarado-Canales (36 Months);
• Eliecer Obed Rodriguez (34 Months);
• Octavio Josue Perdomo (34 Months);
• Elber Mendoza-Lopez (34 Months);
• Aurelio Montiel-Martinez (24 Months);
• Miller Perdomo-Aceituno ( 24 Months);
• Santos Martin Hernandez (24 Months); and
• Susana Carillo Mendoza (19 Months)

New York Woman Sentenced for Role in Identity Theft Conspiracy
On Nov. 19, 2014, in Rochester, New York, Kelly Nicole Borger, of Rochester and Los Angeles, California, was sentenced to 12 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $532,351 to the IRS. In June 2014, Borger pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States. According to court documents, from April 2011 to April 2012, Borger conspired with Michael Carney, of Los Angeles, California, to prepare and submit false income tax returns. Borger emailed Carney the names and other identifying information of 40 individuals in Rochester known to Borger. Carney then prepared 50 fraudulent tax returns in the names of these individuals. For his role in the conspiracy, Michael Carney was sentenced to 41 months in prison.

New Jersey Man Sentenced for Using Stolen Identities to Obtain Tax Refund Checks
On Nov. 18, 2014, in Newark, New Jersey, Hakeem Awe, of Irvington, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $1,242,047. Awe previously pleaded guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Awe used stolen personal identification information and fictitious financial information to file false tax returns making it appear that the filer was entitled to a tax refund. Awe also listed the filer’s address as one of several post office boxes that he controlled in and around New Jersey. He received the checks at his post office boxes and then deposited them into bank accounts that he controlled.

Former Banker Sentenced for Laundering Proceeds of Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On Nov. 13, 2014, in Tampa, Florida, Howayda Hamdan was sentenced to 90 months in prison and ordered to pay a money judgment of $1,168,858. Hamdan pleaded guilty on August 21, 2014 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, from January 2011 to April 20, 2011, while working as a personal banker, Hamdan opened 292 bank accounts using 146 stolen identities. These accounts were opened for the sole purpose of laundering fraudulently obtained federal income tax refund checks that were acquired using the stolen identities of another 219 unknowing victims. Hamdan’s co-conspirators, Riad Sulaiman, Nedal Ahmad, and Khaldoun Khalil Khawaja, owned and operated businesses where they knowingly negotiated fraudulently obtained tax refund checks. The co-conspirators brought the fraudulently obtained Treasury checks to Hamdan so they could be deposited and the proceeds withdrawn. Many of these checks were issued in the names of deceased individuals. The co-conspirators in this case were previously prosecuted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 15 months to 77 months in prison.

New York Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On Nov. 10, 2014, in Albany, New York, Tomas Burgos, of Newburgh, was sentenced to 37 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $88,979. On July 7, 2014, Burgos pleaded guilty to filing a false claim with the Internal Revenue Service. According to court documents, on April 21, 2011, Burgos submitted a fraudulent U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts to the Internal Revenue Service. The return claimed, falsely, that the Tomas Burgos, Jr. Estate had received $900,000 in income for the 2010 tax year. In the return, Burgos sought a refund of $300,000 from the Internal Revenue Service, based on the false claim that $300,000 of federal income tax was withheld from the $900,000 income. In fact, $300,000 of federal income tax had not been paid nor had $900,000 been received as income by the Tomas Burgos, Jr. Estate.

Bank Manager Sentenced for Stolen Identity Fraud Scheme
On Nov. 6, 2014, in Boston, Massachusetts, Carlos Mauricio Gonzalez, of Revere, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $326,802 in restitution to the IRS. Gonzalez previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to convert public money. According to court documents, Gonzalez, who worked as a supervisor at a bank in Stoneham, opened business and personal bank accounts that were to receive proceeds from stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF). The accounts were used by conspirators to obtain refunds by filing fraudulent income tax returns using the identities of other people. Gonzalez opened bank accounts himself and also directed other bank employees to open accounts although he did not inform these employees about the scheme. Gonzalez withdrew and directed other employees to withdraw the SIRF proceeds in cash amounts below $10,000. Between December 2011 and April 2012, Gonzalez facilitated the opening of 32 bank accounts, which received 75 deposits.

Woman Sentenced to Prison for Tax Fraud
On Nov. 4, 2014, in Tampa, Florida, Erica Lambert was sentenced to 50 months in prison and ordered to pay $499,923 in restitution to the IRS. Lambert pleaded guilty on July 25, 2014 to conspiracy to defraud the United States Treasury and to wire fraud in connection with filing fraudulent tax returns. According to court documents, Lambert, along with others, electronically filed tax returns using stolen and fraudulently obtained means of identification. Lambert and her co-conspirators kept track of the fraudulent returns and refunds in detailed ledgers that were found at Lambert’s residence. The fraudulent tax refunds were issued in the form of U.S. Treasury checks and debit cards in other individuals’ names. Lambert and her co-conspirators used the refunds to obtain cash and goods for their personal use. On Jan. 21, 2014, co-conspirator Earl Rojelio Blanchett was sentenced to 124 months in prison for his role in this tax fraud scheme.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Role in Bank Fraud Involving Stolen Identity Tax Refunds
On Nov. 3, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Willy Toussaint, of Lauderhill, was sentenced to 46 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $208,261 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. Toussaint was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two counts of bank fraud. According to court documents, Toussaint obtained counterfeit means of identification, including counterfeit State of Florida driver’s licenses.  Toussaint then caused multiple unauthorized personal and business bank accounts to be created at a bank in the names of unsuspecting identity theft victims using their personal identification information (PII). Toussaint paid the bank employees between $2,000 and $10,000, for opening the bank accounts. Co-conspirators utilized stolen PII to submit false, fictitious, and fraudulent federal income tax returns to the IRS claiming tax refunds to which they were not entitled. The fraudulently claimed tax refunds were then deposited into the bank accounts established with the assistance of Toussaint.  After the tax refunds were received at the bank, co-conspirators would either obtain the funds by wire transfer or would utilize multiple automated teller machines (ATMs) to withdraw the money in cash.

Defendant Sentenced for Theft of Government Property, Possession of Unauthorized Access Devices, and Aggravated Identity Theft
On Oct. 30, 2014, in Tallahassee, Florida, Jamahl Hurley, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $208,337 in restitution. Hurley was sentenced for theft of government property, possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Hurley’s charges stem from a traffic stop that occurred on May 17, 2013, during which officers recovered a black bag that contained several notebooks with personal identifying information (PII) belonging to other persons and debit cards in other peoples’ names. During the investigation, agents discovered that the PII had been used to file multiple fraudulent income tax returns for tax years 2011 and 2012.

Florida Resident Sentenced in Treasury Check Cashing and Stolen Identity Scheme
On Oct. 30, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Victor Diroggiero, of Miami, was sentenced to 101 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $745,000 in restitution. Diroggiero previously pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government money and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, from April through August 2009, Diroggiero went to Fast Cash Check Cashing, a check cashing store in North Miami, and cashed over one hundred stolen United States Department of Treasury checks. The checks were social security checks, thrift savings program checks and tax refund checks issued to different, real persons who did not authorize Diroggiero to possess the checks.

Man Sentenced in Alabama for Role in Identity Theft Scheme
On Oct. 28, 2014, in Montgomery, Alabama, Gregory Slaton was sentenced to 70 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $82,971 in restitution for his involvement in a stolen identity tax refund fraud (SIRF) scheme that used prisoner names and a corrupt U.S. Postal Service employee. According to the court documents, Gregory Slaton conspired with his wife, Jacqueline Slaton, his brother-in-law, Harvey James, and a U.S. Postal Service employee, Vernon Harrison, to file false tax returns using stolen identities.  James and Jacqueline Slaton obtained stolen identities, including identities of inmates, and used those identities to file the false tax returns.  Gregory Slaton recruited Harrison into the conspiracy, who then provided Gregory Slaton with mailing addresses on his postal route to which they could mail the fraudulently claimed prepaid debit cards.  James and Jacqueline Slaton then directed the tax refunds to be issued on debit cards and checks and to be sent to the specified addresses on Harrison’s mail route. Harrison was previously sentenced to 111 months in prison, James was sentenced to 110 months in prison and Jacqueline Slaton was sentenced to serve 70 months in prison.  

California Woman Sentenced for Conspiracy to Defraud the IRS
On Oct. 28, 2014, in San Francisco, California, Kathryn Darlene Coryell was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $703,537 in restitution. Coryell pleaded guilty in June 2014 to conspiring to defraud the IRS and wire fraud.  According to the plea agreement, beginning around Feb. 28, 2008, and continuing through April 16, 2012, Coryell and her co-defendant filed more than 150 false tax returns. Using the names and social security numbers of numerous individuals, Coryell and her co-defendant fabricated income information and filed materially false income tax returns claiming tax refunds derived from credits, including the Earned Income Credit, the Additional Child Tax Credit and the Making Work Pay Credit.

Three Sentenced for Tax Refund Fraud and Identity Theft Schemes
On Oct. 28, 2014, in Pensacola, Florida, Rex E. Robinson, Jr., of Cantonment, was sentenced to 75 months in prison and ordered to pay $87,324 in restitution. Robinson pleaded guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft charges stemming from his participation in a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by filing over 100 false tax returns using other people’s identities, the majority of whom were deceased. Robinson was found in possession of approximately 566 individuals’ identities, 179 of which were actually used to file the fraudulent returns attributed to the scheme. Ariyanna S. Lampley (previously Schuyler J. Nickerson), of Pensacola, Florida, was sentenced to 75 months in prison and was ordered to pay $212,792 in restitution to the IRS after pleading guilty to theft of government money and aggravated identity theft. Lampley forged a deceased person’s signature and deposited into her account one of the fraudulent tax refund checks obtained by Robinson, knowing that Robinson had obtained it by filing false returns. Lampley also was ordered to pay back not only for the check she deposited for Robinson, but for the over 70 additional fraudulently obtained federal tax refund checks she had cashed for others since 2010. A third defendant, Brian Richardson, of Cantonment, was sentenced earlier to 12 months and one day in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated identity theft.  Richardson stole the personal identifying information of over 40 elderly hospital patients from his employer and provided it to Robinson for use in the tax fraud scheme.

Return Preparer Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Scheme Involving Public School Students
On Oct. 27, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Donald Claude, of Miramar, was sentenced to 40 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $210,120 in restitution. Claude previously pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.   According to court documents, Claude was the Chief Executive Officer of J&D Tax Services, LLC. Claude obtained an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) for J&D Tax Services, LLC which permitted Claude and co-defendant James Jean-Baptiste to file tax returns electronically in the names of other individuals. Claude also obtained a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) as a tax preparer that permitted him to identify himself as the preparer on tax returns electronically filed in the names of other individuals. Claude and Jean-Baptiste obtained the personal identification information (PIl) of students from an employee of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The two then used the students’ stolen identities to file false and fraudulent tax returns with the IRS to fraudulently obtain tax refunds for their personal use and benefit. Jean-Baptiste was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, seven counts of wire fraud and seven counts of aggravated identity theft and currently remains at large.

Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 27, 2014, in Tampa, Florida, Edwaldo Louis Oliveiri was sentenced to 131 months in prison and was ordered to pay a money judgment of $307,721. Oliveiri pleaded guilty on June 24, 2014 to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, between Sept. 4, 2012, and Sept. 11, 2013, Oliveiri sold marijuana and guns to an undercover officer on multiple occasions.  He believed that the undercover officer worked for the Veterans Affairs hospital and solicited the officer for personal identifying information from the hospital to use as part of a tax fraud scheme.  Between Jan. 23, 2013, and Sept. 9, 2013, Oliveiri participated in a tax fraud scheme that submitted 437 false and fraudulent tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service.

Washington Man Sentenced for Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns
On Oct. 24, 2014, in Seattle, Washington, Charles Scott Brown was sentenced to 18 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,252,181 in restitution to the IRS.  Brown pleaded guilty to four counts of filing fraudulent tax returns. According to court documents, between December 2007 and February 2008, Brown submitted four fraudulent tax returns, claiming he was owed more than $1.2 million in tax refunds. The fraudulent tax returns included false Forms 1099-OID. When the refund checks came in, Brown used the money for travel to Mexico and Hawaii, shopping sprees and luxury hotel stays with expensive dinners out.

Massachusetts Man Sentenced for Role in Multimillion-Dollar International Cybercrime Scheme
On Oct. 24, 2014, in Trenton, New Jersey, Robert Dubuc, of Malden, Massachusetts, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $338,685. Dubuc previously pleaded guilty one count of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud and identity theft. According to court documents, Dubuc was a member of an international cybercrime, identity theft and credit card fraud conspiracy that used information hacked from customer accounts held at more than a dozen banks, brokerage firms, payroll processing companies and government agencies to attempt to steal at least $15 million from American customers. Dubuc controlled a cash-out crew in Massachusetts for the organization. Conspiring hackers first gained unauthorized access to the bank accounts of customers then diverted money to other bank accounts and pre-paid debit cards they controlled. They implemented a sophisticated “cash-out” operation, employing crews of individuals known as “cashers” to withdraw the stolen funds from the fraudulent accounts, among other ways, by making ATM withdrawals and fraudulent purchases. Dubuc was aware the fraudulent accounts and cards were created without the consent of the individuals in whose names they were opened. He coordinated ATM and bank withdrawals of the stolen funds and sent proceeds of the fraud to co-conspirators in the Ukraine.

Medical Assistant Sentenced For Stealing Patients’ Identities
On Oct. 24, 2014, in Miami, Florida, La Toya Yvette Tillman, of Hollywood, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Tillman previously pleaded guilty to one count of possessing fifteen or more unauthorized access devices with the intent to defraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Tillman, who worked as a medical assistant, accessed a healthcare system database through her computer at work to steal patient identities so that she could sell them. She sold one individual approximately 2,000 identities for $1 each and the individual told her that he used the identities to file fraudulent tax returns. In addition, in her car, Tillman had a list of 114 identities that included names, dates of birth and social security numbers. Tillman knew that the victims did not authorize her to possess their personal identifying information.

Florida Man Sentenced for Identity Theft Schemes
On Oct. 24, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Emmanuel A. Adeife was sentenced to 76 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $321,213 in ‎restitution. Adeife previously pleaded guilty to access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and failure to appear. According to court documents, from January to October 2013, Adeife filed approximately 112 Social Security Retirement Income Benefit (RIB) claims using names, dates of births, and social security numbers belonging to real people without their permission. Adeife directed that the RIB payments be paid onto prepaid debit cards. He received RIB payments totaling $194,213 in connection with 45 of the claims. Adeife knowingly failed to appear at his plea hearing and remained a fugitive until his second arrest on June 20, 2014. After Adeife’s failure to appear, he continued to conduct stolen identity fraud.

Dominican National Sentenced for Role in $65 Million Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme
On Oct. 23, 2014, in Newark, New Jersey, Alejandro Javier, a Dominican national who was extradited from Canada earlier this year, was sentenced to 39 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution and forfeiture of $1,379,464. Javier previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal government funds and theft of government funds. According to court documents, from at least 2007, dozens of individuals in the New Jersey and New York area have been engaged in a large-scale, long-running SIRF scheme that caused more than 8,000 fraudulent 1040 forms to be filed, seeking more than $65 million in tax refunds, with more than $12 million in losses to the U.S. Treasury. Javier and others obtained personal identifiers belonging to Puerto Rican citizens that were then used to create and electronically file fraudulent 1040 forms. Conspirators purchased mail routes, that is, lists of addresses covered by a single mail carrier. Conspirators applied for refunds, inserted addresses along the mail route as the purported home addresses of the “taxpayers,” and obtained the refund checks sent to the addresses. They also applied for checks using addresses otherwise controlled by, or accessible by, certain conspirators and collected the checks after they were delivered to those addresses. After receiving the refund checks, Javier and others cashed the checks at check cashing institutions and divided the proceeds among the conspirators.

Ohio Man Sentenced for Filing False Federal Income Tax Returns and Identity Theft
On Oct. 22, 2014, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Antoine Rogers was sentenced to 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $408,535 in restitution to the IRS. Rogers pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and theft of government property. According to court documents, between June 2010 and November 2012 Rogers prepared and electronically filed approximately 116 false federal income tax returns with the IRS. A portion of the returns were filed without the taxpayer’s knowledge or consent resulting in the unlawful use of the individual’s means of identification. Rogers directed that the false income tax refunds be paid either by direct deposit into his bank accounts or onto prepaid debit cards that he controlled. The false income tax returns contained fraudulent items, such as Household Help Income and the American Opportunity Credit, which Rogers knew the taxpayers were not entitled to or had not received. In fact, Rogers prepared his own 2009 through 2011 personal income tax returns claiming false amounts of Household Help Income and false American Opportunity Credits.

Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
On Oct. 22, 2014, in Orlando, Florida, Tanya Fox was sentenced to 240 months in prison for conspiracy to defraud the federal government, wire fraud, theft of government property, and aggravated identity theft. Fox was also ordered to pay a money judgment in the amount of $4,055,735. On July 24, 2014, Fox was found guilty by jury of one count of conspiracy, five counts of wire fraud, ten counts of theft of government property, and ten counts of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Fox orchestrated a scheme to file fraudulent tax returns using identities that had been stolen from a variety of sources. Fox directed other individuals to open business bank accounts in the name of a fraudulent tax preparation business and to have the tax refunds deposited into those accounts. She then worked with those individuals to withdraw the funds and she spent the money on several luxury and other vehicles, cosmetic surgery and to open a restaurant in the Orlando area. Four others have been sentenced for providing approximately 2,400 names from the Orange County Health Department to Fox, with sentencing’s ranging from five years to two years and six months in prison.    

Florida Man Sentenced for Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Case Involving Over 5,000 Identities
On Oct. 22, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Richard Anthony Siler, of Hollywood, was sentenced to 154 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Siler was convicted at trial of unauthorized access devices, possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices and three counts of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Siler had previously provided lists of individuals’ personal identity information to a confidential source knowing the identity information would be used for identity theft tax refund fraud. Siler told a confidential source that Siler could sell approximately “ten thousand” to “thirteen thousand” people’s identity information a week. Siler also told the confidential source that these identities were “never before revealed.” Siler had worked for a company where he had access to lists of people’s personal identity information. On Feb. 14, 2014, Siler sent an e-mail to the confidential source containing an attachment with the personal identity information of approximately 5,200 elderly Medicare patients.

Convicted Felon Sentenced for Firearms and Identity Theft Charges
On Oct. 21, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Miguel Roman, of Miami, was sentenced to 102 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Roman previously pleaded guilty to possession of three firearms and ammunition while a convicted felon, possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, during a search warrant on Roman’s apartment, law enforcement discovered three firearms, several boxes of ammunition, a variety of papers and documents reflecting the personally identifying information (PII) of other individuals and several debit cards in other individuals’ names. Also found were many documents reflecting PII, a large plastic bag containing notebooks of handwritten PII, forms from the Bureau of Prisons reflecting the PII of prisoners, and an envelope containing three treasury checks in other individuals’ names. In total, 1,114 unique names and social security numbers were discovered. Although not directly attributable to the defendant’s conduct, fraudulent tax returns were filed on behalf of at least sixteen of the individuals whose PII was found in Roman’s residence.

New York Woman Sentenced for Wire Fraud, Filing False Claims, Bank Fraud and Corruptly Interfering with the IRS
On Oct. 21, 2014, in White Plains, New York, Melanie Ferreira, of Lagrangeville, was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution and to forfeit $440,924 that she had wrongfully obtained from the IRS. Ferreira was also ordered to forfeit approximately $96,000 worth of gold Krugerrands and silver coins that she had purchased with the proceeds of her crimes. In February 2014, Ferreira was convicted of engaging in a 1099-OID scheme and an electronic funds transfer or “EFT” scheme. According to court documents, on Oct. 15, 2009, Ferreira filed a U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040, for the year 2008 falsely reporting that she earned interest income of $661,600 and paid taxes $661,536 to the IRS. On that basis, she claimed, and received, a refund of $440,924. In reality, in 2008 she actually earned only $17 in interest income and she had only paid $236 in federal taxes. When the IRS notified Ferreira that she was required to pay back the $440,924 plus interest and penalties, Ferreira sent the IRS a worthless check for $759,033 written on a closed account. Ferreira also perpetrated a bank fraud scheme against a bank that held the mortgage for her house. In May 2010, she caused a forged cashier’s check for $316,966 to be sent to the bank in satisfaction of the mortgage. Later, Ferreira sent a personal check, written on a closed account, in the amount of $305,000 to the bank, again purporting to pay off her mortgage.

Man Sentenced for Tax Return Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 21, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Judas Godina was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution to the government. Godina pleaded guilty on July 15, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS. According to his guilty plea agreement, from about January through December 2010, Godina conspired with Felix and Walter Guzman to defraud the IRS through a false income tax refund scheme. Godina recruited customers in Las Vegas into the tax return scheme by telling them that he could prepare their individual income tax returns and generate large refunds for them. Godina requested their identification information and tax returns from prior years, and then prepared the fraudulent tax returns using the information they provided, along with fraudulent W-2’s and Schedule E’s for business losses that he created. Godina transmitted or caused to be submitted the fraudulent forms to the IRS. When the customers received the refunds, Godina arranged to meet them and demanded payment of approximately one-half of the refund. Godina also offered to pay a finder’s fee to customers who referred other paying customers to him and prepared fraudulent tax returns for customers recruited by co-defendants Felix and Walter Guzman. Godina scheme resulted in $791,666 in fraudulent refunds being issued by the IRS. The Guzmans are currently fugitives.

Nevada Man Sentenced for Conspiring to File False Claims for Refunds
On Oct. 20, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Damon Boswell was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $192,632 in restitution to the IRS. Boswell pleaded guilty on May 29, 2014, to conspiracy to submit false claims for federal income tax refunds. According to his plea agreement, between April 2009 and May 2009, Boswell, along with others, conspired to defraud the United States by assisting in the filing of federal tax returns falsely claiming refunds based on the First-Time Home Buyers Credit. Boswell obtained personal identifying information from individuals by falsely telling them that if they had not filed their 2008 federal income tax returns and did not owe back taxes, they were entitled to receive “Obama Stimulus” money. The personal information, including names, dates of birth and social security numbers, was then used to file federal income tax returns claiming refunds to which the individuals were not entitled. The individuals did not authorize Boswell or anyone else to file or cause the filing of tax returns in their names.

Florida Resident Sentenced in Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 16, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Karla A. Wilkerson, of Miami, was sentenced to 34 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $24,632 in restitution. Wilkerson pleaded guilty on July 17, 2014 to possession of fifteen or more access devices and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, in April 2013, law enforcement executed a search warrant on a residence associated with Wilkerson and found a variety of papers reflecting the personal identifying information (PII) — including names and social security numbers — of approximately 62 individuals, together with hand-written notations regarding the filing of fraudulent tax returns. Throughout these papers containing the PII of others, approximately 156 latent fingerprints were positively matched as Wilkerson’s fingerprints. Fraudulent tax returns were filed using many of those 62 social security numbers. Wilkerson admitted she had filed fraudulent tax returns using other individuals’ names and social security numbers, which had been stolen from various places. She further admitted the 62 unique pieces of PII discovered in the residence belonged to her.

Florida Man Sentenced in Identity Theft Refund Scheme
On Oct. 16, 2014, in Tallahassee, Florida, McKenzie Deshommes Francois, of Miami, was sentenced to 61 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $269,358 in restitution. Francois pleaded guilty to conspiring to file false claims, conversion of government property, using unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, on May 8, 2013, Francois left a wallet containing 13 debit cards at the Tallahassee Airport. Francois later admitted that the debit cards in the wallet contained income tax refunds that were issued on the basis of fraudulent income tax returns and that he had been paid to retrieve the cards from an apartment complex in Tallahassee. Francois also admitted that he had prepared fraudulent income tax returns himself, although not all of his efforts had been successful. Francois was linked to the use of 102 stolen identities in fraudulent tax filings.

Massachusetts Man Sentenced for Theft of Federal Tax Refund Checks
On Oct. 14, 2014, in Boston, Massachusetts, Wilson Santana, of Lawrence, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $237,277. Santana pleaded guilty in May 2014 to 34 counts of theft of public money. According to court documents, between November 2011 and March 2012, Santana provided Robert Montero, a bank teller at a credit union in Lawrence, with 30 U.S. Treasury checks containing fraudulently obtained tax refunds to be negotiated through various bank accounts controlled by or associated with Santana. Santana paid a fee to Montero for each check Montero negotiated. The U.S. Department of the Treasury had issued the checks based on tax returns that later were determined to contain false information. The tax returns contained biographical information of real people in Puerto Rico but their addresses were falsely listed in New York and Massachusetts. The tax returns also contained false employment information. Santana, knowing that the tax return checks had been issued based on false information, negotiated them with Montero’s help at Metro West Credit Union.

Tennessee Man Sentenced in Fraud Conspiracy
On Oct. 10, 2014, in Memphis, Tennessee, Toran Hampton was sentenced to 120 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $511,216 in restitution. On July 17, 2014, Hampton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file false tax returns. According to court documents, from January 2011 through April 2013, Hampton engaged in a conspiracy to file false tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service using stolen identities. The stolen identities were also used to open bank accounts. The refunds were then deposited into bank accounts controlled by Hampton. Over 700 victims, many of whom were deceased, had their identities stolen.

Inmate Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On Oct. 9, 2014, Kenneth Randale Door was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $71,885 in restitution to the IRS. According to court documents, in 2008 and 2009, while incarcerated at the Washington State Penitentiary, Door and others conspired to file fake tax returns using the names and social security numbers of prison inmates to claim fraudulent refunds. Using the internet, the conspirators identified companies that had declared bankruptcy and had recently closed. The conspirators created fake W-2 forms indicating wages paid and taxes withheld from the individuals whose identities they used. Virtually all of these individuals were prison inmates at the time who had not been employed by the now defunct companies. The conspirators filed at least 31 false tax returns.

Tax and Social Security Check Thief Sentenced
On Oct. 8, 2014, in Boston, Massachusetts, Marvin Lubin, formerly of Worcester, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $110,299 in restitution. In April 2014, Lubin pleaded guilty to theft of government money. According to court documents, in early 2013, Lubin and a Florida man, Sniders Jean-Jacques, recruited couriers to open bank accounts in the name of sham businesses. Social Security benefits and IRS tax refund payments, all illegally obtained using stolen identities, were then deposited to the accounts. Five others have pleaded guilty in connection with this scheme, including Jean-Jacques; couriers Juanita Hall, Natalia Santana, and Shantelle Smith; and Emeline Lubin, Lubin’s sister, who stole names and social security numbers from her then employer and supplied the stolen information to Jean-Jacques for use in the scheme.

Defendant Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 8, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Yossimar Alarcon-Patino was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $1.7 million in restitution to the IRS. Alarcon-Patino pleaded guilty on August 23, 2013, to conspiracy to defraud the United States and money laundering conspiracy. Three other defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States or related charges as a result of this investigation. According to court documents, since at least 2010, Alarcon-Patino engaged in a tax fraud scheme through which he obtained tax refunds by filing false income tax returns that reported false income and claimed fictitious dependents. The majority of the false returns filed by Alarcon-Patino were for undocumented workers or fictitious individuals. Alarcon-Pation obtained fake identification documents that he used to obtain false ITINs. In addition, a co-defendant provided legitimate W-2 wage information to Alarcon-Patino, which he would augment and file with the tax returns. Alarcon-Patino paid the co-defendant $100 for each W-2 provided. Alarcon-Patino also falsely reported dependents in order to claim child tax credits and thereby generate a higher refund payment. He had the refund checks mailed to his residence in Minneapolis, and the residences of other defendants in Minnesota, who cashed the checks for him in exchange for a percentage of each check cashed.

New Jersey Man Sentenced in $65 Million Stolen Identity Income Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 8, 2014, in Newark, New Jersey, David Pinski, of Fort Lee, was sentenced to 17 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution and forfeiture of $1,379,464. Pinski previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and theft of government funds. According to court documents, Pinski and others obtained personal identifiers, such as dates of birth and social security numbers, belonging to Puerto Rican citizens. The identifiers were used to create fraudulent 1040 forms, which falsely reported false wages and false taxes withheld, to create the appearance that the “taxpayers” were entitled to tax refunds. The fraudulent 1040 forms were created and filed electronically and led to the issuance of tax refund checks that the conspirators obtained, sold, cashed, and spent. The scheme caused more than 8,000 fraudulent U.S. income tax returns to be filed, which sought more than $65 million in tax refunds, and which resulted in the losses to the United States of more than $12 million.

Canadian Promoter of Tax Fraud Scheme Sentenced
On Oct. 7, 2014, in Seattle, Washington, Franzie F. Colaco, of Brampton, Ontario, Canada, was sentenced to 108 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $6,206,998 in restitution jointly with Ronald Brekke. Colaco, who was extradited from Canada, was convicted in July 2014 of conspiracy and three counts of wire fraud. According to court documents, Colaco conspired with Ronald L. Brekke and others to promote a scheme known as “1099 OID” fraud. Under this scheme, tax filers use fraudulent Form 1099-OID forms to claim tax refunds equal to the value of the filer’s personal debt. Colaco promoted this scheme throughout Canada and encouraged Canadian citizens to request refunds from the United States government. The IRS flagged the vast majority of the 1099 OID filings as frivolous. Brekke, the leader of the scheme, was sentenced in June 2012 to 144 months in prison. Three others defendants in the scheme were sentenced to terms between 33 and 12 months in prison.

Mississippi Woman Sentenced For Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud
On Oct. 6, 2014, in Jackson, Mississippi, Shekeila Jones, of Jackson, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to defraud the United States. She was also ordered to pay restitution to the government in the amount of $55,660. Jones pleaded guilty on June 12, 2013. According to court documents, Jones conspired with others to illegally obtain the names and social security numbers of others. They then used this information to file fraudulent federal tax returns for the purpose of obtaining fraudulent refunds. The refunds were then electronically deposited into various bank accounts in Mississippi belonging to Jones and her co-conspirators.

Two Michigan Men Sentenced for Filing False Claims
On Oct. 6, 2014, in Detroit, Michigan, Jason McGuire, of Detroit, was sentenced to 63 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1.675 million in restitution. On the same date, Delvin Davis, of Saint Clair Shores, was sentenced to 42 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1.146 million in restitution. On Jan. 30, 2014, McGuire and Davis were found guilty of conspiracy to file false claims in the form of false individual income and false trust tax returns. The defendants were also found guilty of filing false, fictitious and fraudulent claims. According to court documents, McGuire and Davis started the scheme in 2008 by recruiting individuals to sign fraudulent trust and income tax returns. McGuire had the taxpayers sign blank trust return forms, and the taxpayers never saw the filled-out forms before they were filed. McGuire attached bogus forms to the income tax returns and included fictitious withholdings. The defendants recruited at least nine different taxpayers to participate in the fraudulent scheme.

Washington Man Sentenced for False Claims for Tax Refunds
On Oct. 6, 2014, in Tacoma, Washington, Seeney Ristick was sentenced to 46 months in prison for claiming more than $1.8 million in false income tax refunds. Ristick pleaded guilty in June 2014. According to the plea agreement, between 2008 and 2013, Ristick presented various fraudulent papers and forms to different tax preparation firms in Western Washington and directed the filing of bogus tax returns in his own name and the names of others. To facilitate the scheme, Ristick created false income journals and falsely claimed self-employment income and various tax credits. Ristick typically approached the tax preparers by himself and presented fraudulent, and sometimes forged, powers of attorney, which purported to allow him to represent the named tax-filer in financial matters. At other times, he would accompany individuals to the tax preparation firms and assist them in filing the false tax return. Ristick then charged the person for filing the false tax return between $500 and $1500 for the service he provided. In all, Ristick was involved in filing 524 fraudulent federal income tax returns.

Man Sentenced For Role in Scheme to File False Tax Returns Using Stolen Identities
On Oct. 2, 2014, in Detroit, Michigan, Shane Bateman, of Brownstown Township, was sentenced to one year and a day in prison, two years supervised release and ordered to pay $185,828 in restitution. Bateman pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to file fraudulent tax returns. According to court records, from September 2011 through April 2012, Bateman obtained mailing addresses and personally identifiable information of numerous individuals and provided the information to others, who used the information to prepare and file false tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. The returns requested tax refunds, and the refunds were loaded onto Turbo Tax Visa debit cards. Bateman and others used the cards at ATMs in the Detroit area to collect cash via ATM withdrawals. The entire scheme involved approximately 180 false tax returns, many using stolen identities.

Virginia Man Sentenced for Wire Fraud and False Claims
On Oct. 2, 2014, in Norfolk, Virginia, Travis Hager was sentenced to 54 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Hager pleaded guilty on June 4, 2014, to wire fraud and false claims against the United States. According to court documents, Hager, along with his co-conspirator Donte Demus, stole the identities of individuals and used them to file false federal income tax returns. While incarcerated in a Virginia Beach jail, Hager stole the identities of a number of fellow inmates and provided them to Demus by using the jail’s phone system. Demus then provided the identities to a third unidentified accomplice who filed the false returns. The conspirators would request the tax refund be loaded on a prepaid debit card and mailed to Norfolk, Virginia where Demus would retrieve them and spend the funds. Demus pleaded guilty on Sept. 3, 2014 and is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date.

Florida Correctional Officer Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On Oct. 2, 2014, in Tampa, Florida, Jerry St. Fleur was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $61,704. St. Fleur pleaded guilty on July 9, 2014 to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, from around January 2011 until May 2014, St. Fleur, in his capacity as a correctional officer, unlawfully accessed and stole the personal identifying information (PII) of former and current inmates within the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC). St. Fleur would “screen scrape” (cut and paste) inmates’ PII, without their knowledge or permission, from FDOC databases and then use that information to file false tax returns. As part of this scheme, St. Fleur filed approximately 182 fraudulent income tax returns.

Georgia Tax Return Preparer Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On Oct. 1, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia, Laura Romina Delgado was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $2,148,440. Delgado pleaded guilty on July 7, 2014 to wire fraud. According to court documents, Delgado operated a business named Servicios Hispanos which offered various financial and legal services. Between January 2013 and May 2014, Delgado electronically filed approximately 1,300 federal income tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds. Many of the fraudulent returns filed by Delgado were in the names of individuals who were not documented to work in the United States. Delgado also submitted false and misleading forms with the returns, filed and assisted in negotiating U.S. Treasury checks and notarized and filed fraudulent ITIN applications.

Fiscal Year 2017 - Questionable Refund Investigations

Fiscal Year 2016 - Questionable Refund Investigations

 


Table of Contents - Questionable Refund Investigations

Criminal Enforcement Home Page