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Examples of Questionable Refund Investigations - Fiscal Year 2016

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 Maryland Men Sentenced for Roles in Massive Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Scheme
On Sept. 21, 2016, in Washington, DC, Wayne Gardner, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, and Michael Whittaker, of Cumberland, were sentenced to 16 months and 18 months in prison, respectively, and three years of supervised release for their roles in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme. In addition, Gardner was ordered to pay $158,160 in restitution to the IRS and Whittaker was ordered to pay $397,090 in restitution to the IRS. Gardner and Whittaker participated in a massive and sophisticated stolen identity refund fraud scheme that involved an extensive network of more than 130 people, many of whom were receiving public assistance. The refunds were sought for tax years 2005 through 2012, often in the names of persons whose identities had been stolen, including the elderly, people in assisted living facilities, drug addicts and prisoners. Returns were also filed in the names of, and refunds were issued to, people who were willing participants in the scheme. The refunds listed more than 400 taxpayer addresses located in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Gardner admitted to providing 65 means of identification to a co-conspirator between August and December 2010, and his involvement in the filing of 116 fraudulent tax returns that sought refunds of approximately $299,984.  Whittaker admitted that he was involved in the filing of 135 fraudulent tax returns that sought refunds of approximately $494,902.
Also sentenced were:
• Bernard Rankin, of Glenarden, Maryland, was sentenced to serve 15 months in prison, perform 100 hours of community service and pay $190,487 in restitution.  
• Lakisha Jackson, of District Heights, Maryland, was sentenced to six months in a halfway house, 100 hours of community service and pay $175,953 in restitution.  

Texas Man Sentenced for Stolen Tax Refund Scheme
On Sept. 12, 2016, in Dallas, Texas, Farai Marunda was sentenced to 110 months in prison and ordered to pay $3,519,925 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. Marunda previously pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud.  According to court documents, when police officers detected the odor of marijuana coming from a particular room at a hotel in Addison, Texas, Marunda spoke with the officers and gave them consent to search the room for marijuana.  While the officers spoke with others who were in the room, Marunda removed two debit cards from his wallet and hid them in the bathroom. Marunda also had a briefcase in the room, and in it officers found five thumb drives, two laptop computers, a hotspot device, six debit cards in the names of six people, two blank Western Union Visa debit cards, a store receipt listing the purchase of a Green Dot moneypak prepaid card, along with a list of handwritten names and personal identifying information (PII), email addresses, and credit card account numbers. A search of Marunda’s computers and hard drives, uncovered hundreds of computer files containing thousands of items of PII. The devices also contained tax filing software with tax return filing information for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Tampa Man Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns and Using Stolen Identities
On Sept. 12, 2016 in Tampa, Florida, Andre Dwight Stewart was sentenced to 101 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $230,005 to the Internal Revenue Service for theft of government property and aggravated identity theft related to the filing of false federal income tax returns using stolen identities. On July 11, 2013, officers with the Tampa Police Department searched a vehicle in which Stewart was a passenger and recovered a red Swiss Gear laptop bag containing computers and notebooks, all of which belonged to Stewart. Inside Stewart’s bag, technicians found Stewart’s fingerprints on pages of two notebooks, both containing personally identifiable information (PII). Of these, at least nine income tax returns using this PII were filed for the 2011 and 2012 tax years. It was determined that Stewart and others filed, and caused to be filed, fraudulent tax returns claiming over $600,000 in fraudulent refunds.

Mexican Business Owner Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Aug. 30, 2016, in El Paso, Texas, Elizabeth “Betty” Garcia de Nieto, aka Elizabeth Jurado, of Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico, was sentenced to 192 months in prison and ordered to pay $3,009,999 in restitution to the U.S. government for her role in an income tax return scheme that resulted in fraudulent refunds being issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). From January 2010 to February 2015, Garcia used stolen identities to create fraudulent U.S. tax returns. Each return claimed an approximate $5,000 refund from the IRS. Garcia gave some of the IRS refund checks to individuals to bring into the U.S. to be cashed at money service businesses in El Paso. She mailed others to individuals residing in the U.S. to be converted to U.S. currency.  All monies derived from the scheme, minus agreed-to-fees retained by co-defendants, were wired back to Garcia. In September 2014, U.S. Customs agents at the Paso del Norte Port of Entry seized 10 fraudulent tax returns from an employee of Garcia. Co-defendant Rodolfo Ramirez-Estrada of El Paso, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and was sentenced Aug. 31 to 18 months in prison for his part in the conspiracy. Additional co-conspirators, Christina Perez Altamirano of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Alberto Altamirano Armendarie of Montgomery, Alabama, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and were sentenced to 12 months in prison and time served, respectively.

Final Defendant in Scheme That Sought More Than $1.5 Million in Fraudulent Tax Refunds Sentenced
On Aug. 29, 2016, in Los Angeles, California, Wesley Wade Hunter, aka “Godfather,” was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $104,283 to the IRS. Hunter filed or assisted in the filing of fraudulent tax returns that sought refunds using the identities of over 250 individuals. Hunter and the other co-conspirators obtained the personal identification information (PII) of individuals without their knowledge and consent. Hunter and others knowingly filed false federal income tax returns that claimed fraudulent tax refund payments based upon fraudulent wage and withholding amounts under their own names and under the names and PII of the identity theft victims. Members of the conspiracy cashed the fraudulently obtained refund checks.  In all, Hunter’s conduct resulted in an intended loss of more than $1.5 million and an actual loss of approximately $104,283 to the United States government.

Florida Man Sentenced For Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Theft of Government Money and Aggravated Identity Theft
On Aug, 23, 2016, in Jacksonville, Florida, Lorne Jordan was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $120,713 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for conspiracy to defraud the United States, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. The IRS received information that Jordan was in possession of a large amount of U.S. Treasury checks and needed assistance in cashing them. Over a series of several meetings, Jordan provided more than 25 Treasury checks, totaling over $70,000, to an undercover agent for cashing. He also advised that he had previously worked with a postal employee to cash additional Treasury checks he had obtained. On Jan. 13, 2016, agents executed a search warrant at Jordan’s residence and found personal identifying information of at least 100 individuals.   

Tennessee Woman Sentenced For Filing False Claims for Refunds
On Aug. 22, 2016, Karen Liane Miller of Nashville, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $939,835 to the IRS for filing false claims for refunds. From about August 2008 until about July 2009 Miller knowingly prepared and submitted multiple false federal income tax returns to the IRS on behalf of her friends, family and herself. The returns reported false amounts of taxable income on attached Forms 1099-OID (Original Issue Discount) and Forms 1099-A that Miller created and fraudulently represented to have been issued by financial institutions. The returns also reported identical or near-identical false amounts of federal income tax withheld from the fictitious income to generate claims for tax refunds that were significantly higher than what the taxpayers were entitled to receive. Miller filed 48 fraudulent tax returns that falsely claimed more than $19.8 million in refunds.  The IRS issued $1,003,238 in refunds for eight of the 48 fraudulent returns.

State Inmate Receives Sentence for Role in Tax Fraud 
On Aug. 19, 2016, in Sacramento, California, Daniel Allen Coats, of Turlock, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $8,938 in restitution for his role in a conspiracy to defraud the United States by filing false claims for federal tax refunds. Beginning in 2011, Coats and three fellow inmates in the California Correctional Center in Susanville obtained the personal identification information (PII) of other inmates and provided it to co-defendants outside the prison. The codefendants then used the PII to prepare and file false income tax returns with the IRS, claiming refunds to which the inmates were not entitled.  Coats also filed three false tax returns in his name. In all, the conspiracy resulted in at least 247 false claims for income tax returns in the tax years 2008 through 2011.

South Carolina Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On Aug. 16, 2016 in Asheville, North Carolina, Carmichael Cornilus Hill of Greenville, South Carolina, was sentenced to 75 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $219,118 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for false claims conspiracy and aggravated identity theft charges. Hill provided his co-conspirators, Senita Birt Dill and Ronald Jeremy Knowles, with fraudulently-obtained personal identification information (PII) of individuals. Dill and Knowles then used the PII to file more than 1,000 false tax returns resulting in the collection of more than $3.5 million in fraudulent tax refunds. Hill obtained the individuals’ PII through a variety of ways, including from an unindicted co-conspirator with access to that information. Dill and Knowles were previously sentenced to 324 and 70 months in prison, respectively, for their involvement in the conspiracy. Two additional defendants, Yolanda Kitson and Cara Michelle Banks were sentenced to 72 and 70 months in prison, respectively, for their participation in the tax fraud scheme.

Traveling Minister and Two from Georgia Sentenced in Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On Aug. 15, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio, Allen D. Miles, of Little Rock, Arkansas, and Zinara M. Highsmith, of Fayetteville, Georgia, were sentenced to 159 months and 42 months in prison, respectively. Ve Sayavong, of Jonesboro, Georgia, was previously sentenced to 33 months in prison. Miles, Highsmith and Sayavong acted together in a false tax refund scheme in which approximately 2,750 false income tax returns were filed, netting false income tax refunds of approximately $4.8 million. Miles, a travelling minister, obtained personal identification information from congregants by telling them that he could help them obtain money from an alleged government stimulus fund program. Miles did not tell congregants that income tax returns were going to be filed on their behalf. After he obtained the information, Miles forwarded it to Highsmith, and then Highsmith, Sayavong and others created the false income tax returns. Each of the returns requested that $125 be deposited into a bank account controlled by Miles, $275 be deposited into a bank account controlled by Highsmith (from which she paid Savavong and others) and the taxpayer received the balance. Based on the false claims, the IRS issued refunds totaling more than $3.9 million.

Five Sentenced in Connection with a Fraudulent Multi-Million Dollar Income Tax Refund Scheme
On Aug. 12, 2016, in Austin, Texas, five individuals, including three sisters, were sentenced to prison for their roles in a scheme that involved over 3,200 fraudulent income tax returns that claimed refunds totaling more than $9 million.  
Sentenced were:
• Natividad Mercado Medina, a Mexican national, 121 months;
• Elizabeth Mercado Medina, a Mexican national, 108 months;
• Sofia Mercado Medina, a Mexican national, 108 months;
• Bertin Sanchez Garcia, a Mexican national, 33 months; and
• Yajaira Limon Lopez, a Mexican national, 51 months.
All five defendants, who have remained in federal custody since their arrests in February 2016, entered guilty pleas to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud earlier this year. In addition to prison, the defendants will pay, joint and severally, $3,888,519 restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and serve three years of supervised release. Sophia’s and Elizabeth’s residences in Georgia and $93,000 in U.S. currency will also be forfeited to the U.S. government. Beginning in 2014, under the direction of Natividad Medina, the defendants conspired to steal money from the U.S. Treasury by exploiting the Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) system. The Medina sisters collected Mexican identification documents from unknown people in Mexico and used those to fraudulently obtain ITINs. The Medina sisters then used those ITINs to submit false and fraudulent income tax returns to the IRS Center in Austin. They requested that the IRS mail refund checks to residences or to one of more than 200 post office boxes in and around the Houston area which Lopez had rented and maintained on behalf of the Medina sisters.

Six Tax Return Preparers Sentenced for Identity Theft, Filing False Tax Returns
Between Aug. 8 and July 20, six tax return preparers were sentenced for filing false tax returns with the IRS in a scheme that claimed more than $6,663,976 in fraudulent tax refunds. Sentenced are:
• Tomeka Anderson - 65 months in prison; ordered to pay restitution of $774,320
• Tiffany Gaines - 61 months in prison; ordered to pay restitution of $607,377
• Natalie Mitchell and Artrice Reid – each sentenced to 57 months in prison; ordered to pay restitution of $954,557 and $880,457, respectively.
• Artravette Thomas and Danny Horne - each sentenced to 51 months in prison; ordered to pay restitution of $538,765 and $200,484, respectively.
Co-defendants Tameka Walker, Celia Cromer, and Maritynque Cromer, and Marlin Mejia were previously sentenced to 78 months, 50 months, 36 months, and 21 months in prison, respectively. Walker operated a tax preparation business and purchased stolen Personal Identifying Information (PII) from various sources, including defendant Mejia, to file fraudulent tax returns. Mejia worked as a radiology transporter at a hospital and stole documents containing patients’ PII from the hospital’s files. Defendants Mitchell, Reid, Anderson, Gaines, Thomas, Horne, Fleurantin, Celia Cromer and Maritynque Cromer were employed by Walker as tax preparers. The employees filed tax returns using stolen identities to claim fraudulent tax refunds, and also filed tax returns claiming fraudulent overinflated tax refunds. Specifically, the stolen PII of 95 hospital patients was used by the employees to claim over $76,757 in fraudulent tax refunds.

Former Hospital Employee Sentenced For Stealing Patient Information and Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns
On Aug. 3, 2016 in Tampa, Florida, Shanakia Benton was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay a money judgement of $77,237 for wrongful disclosure of individual identifiable health information and wire fraud. Benton was an employee at Tampa General Hospital and had access to the personal health information of thousands of patients. She regularly received training regarding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which prevents the unauthorized disclosure of personal health information. Between June 2011 and December 2012, Benton illegally accessed the personal information of more than 600 TGH patients. Benton and her accomplices then used that information to file at least 29 false tax returns seeking refunds totaling $226,000.

Woman Sentenced for Using Veteran IDs to File Bogus Tax Returns
On Aug. 2, 2016, Ramona Peete, of Detroit, Mich., was sentenced to 61 months in prison on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and aggravated identity theft. Her co-defendant, Kathy Pilcher, of Chicago, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and will be sentenced at a later date. In addition, Peete, Pilcher and Nicholas Fussell, who pleaded guilty in August 2013 to similar charges as Peete, were ordered to pay a total of $512,087 in restitution. Fussell was linked to about $148,000 in false tax returns. Over a four-year time frame, federal prosecutors linked them to more than 700 bogus tax returns worth $1.2 million. The trio obtained about $500,000 from the government. Some returns were filed with information of several veterans who were being treated at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit, where Peete worked. Other victims came from an apartment complex in Chicago which Pilcher managed.

Florida Couple Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Charges
On July 29, 2019 in Tampa, Florida, Ynessa Brown and Thelonius Robertson, both of Gibsonton, were sentenced to 61 months in prison and ordered to pay of $673,398 to the IRS for conspiring to commit tax fraud and aggravated identity theft. In addition, a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $767,398 was entered, representing the total proceeds of their fraud conspiracy. From January 2012 through June 2013, Brown and Robertson possessed and used stolen identities, including those of deceased persons, to electronically file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS through an Internet service provider in Brown’s name. Many of the false tax returns were filed jointly, and in many cases, one or both of the victims were deceased. Items related to these false returns and refunds, including $94,000 in cash, were seized during a search of Brown’s residence in June 2013. From these fraudulently filed tax returns, Brown and Robertson directed the tax refunds onto unauthorized debit cards, many in other people’s names, which were sent to either their address, the addresses of friends and family, and/or to vacant addresses. Brown and Robertson used these refunds to purchase merchandise or to make cash withdrawals from ATMs.

Georgia Couple Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme Involving IRS “Get Transcript” Database
On July 27, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia, Anthony and Sonia Alika were sentenced to 80 months and 21 months in prison, respectively, for their role in a stolen identity tax refund fraud (SIRF) scheme. In addition, the couple will serve three years of supervised release and pay $1,963,251 and $245,790, respectively, in restitution to the IRS. Anthony Alika, along with Rapheal Atebefia, of Austell, were members of a conspiracy that obtained means of personal identifying identification (PII) of actual individuals and used this information to access the IRS’s “Get Transcript” database. Anthony Alika, Atebefia and others obtained prepaid debit cards from stores located in multiple states, registered the cards in the names of the stolen identities, filed false income tax returns using the stolen identities and information obtained from the Get Transcript database and directed the IRS to deposit the tax refunds onto these cards. To conceal their fraud, Anthony Alika, Atebefia and others used the prepaid debit cards to purchase money orders which were subsequently deposited into bank accounts. Anthony Alika structured the cash withdrawals from his bank accounts in amounts less than $10,000 to evade the bank reporting requirements. Anthony Alika admitted that he laundered over $1.5 million. Between February and June 2015, Sonia Alika withdrew more than $250,000 from multiple bank accounts she controlled in amounts less than $10,000 to prevent the bank from filing CTRs. On June 22, Atebefia was sentenced to 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in the scheme.

Virginia Man Sentenced for in Massive Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Scheme          
On July 6, 2016, in Washington, DC, Bradley King, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, was sentenced to 47 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his involvement in a stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF) scheme in which he worked with others to seek over $1.5 million in income tax refunds through the filing of fraudulent federal income tax returns. King was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $493,436 to the IRS and a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $5,400. King was among approximately 20 participants in this scheme who have pleaded guilty to charges in the District of Columbia. The overall case involves the filing of at least 12,000 fraudulent federal income tax returns that sought refunds of at least $42 million. This massive and sophisticated SIRF scheme involved an extensive network of more than 130 people, many of whom were receiving public assistance. The refunds were sought for tax years 2005 through 2013, often in the names of people, whose identities had been stolen, including the elderly, residents of assisted living facilities, drug addicts and incarcerated prisoners. Returns were also filed in the names of and refunds were issued to, people who were willing participants in the scheme. The refunds listed more than 400 “taxpayer” addresses located in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. The losses generated by the use of residential addresses and bank accounts under his control, including checks associated with his co-conspirators, King was responsible for the filing of approximately 444 fraudulent returns that sought more than $1.5 million.  These actions led to a total actual loss of approximately $493,436 to the U.S. Treasury, based on the negotiation of a total of 153 U.S. Treasury checks listing addresses under his control and/or negotiated by his recruits.

Georgia Tax Preparers Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On June 27, 2016, Columbus, Georgia, Larae Townsend was sentenced to 75 months in prison. A co-conspirator, Michelle Simmons, also of Columbus, was sentenced on June 21, 2016, to 51 months in prison. They are jointly ordered to pay restitution of $419,139 to the IRS. Simmons worked for Gattison & Associates, a tax preparation business in Columbus with Danielle Wallace. Beginning tax year 2011 and continuing through tax year 2014, Townsend supplied Simmons and Wallace with stolen identity information. At least 557 fraudulent tax returns were filed using the stolen information. As a result, over $400,000 in illegally obtained tax refunds from the IRS were issued. Wallace was sentenced to 65 months in prison on July 28, 2015.

Nine Defendants Sentenced for $11.1 Million Tax Refund, Food Stamp Conspiracy
On June 23, 2016, in Tallahassee, Florida, nine Florida residents were sentenced for conspiracy, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft.
The defendants were sentenced as follows:
• John Walter Simmons, Tampa - 168 months in prison;
• Daria Patrice Simmons, Tampa - 65 months in prison;
• Jazzman Shabazz Simmons, Tallahassee - 65 months in prison;
• Anre’ Juardon Davis, St. Petersburg - 36 months in prison;
• Rashard LaVonta McMillian, Quincy - 36 months in prison;
• Ronald Edward Brown, Quincy - 30 months in prison;
• Addrain Montez McMillan, Overland Park, Kansas - 18 months in prison;
• Ja’baree Vazquez Allen, Tallahassee – 36 months of probation
• Mercedes Shevon Sutton, Tampa – 36 months of probation
Another defendant, Jasmine Junae Robinson, is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date. The defendants conspired to file fraudulent income tax returns using stolen personal identifying information (PII) from approximately 2,800 individuals. The stolen PII was used to file 1,466 fraudulent income tax returns, claiming refunds of approximately $11.1 million and resulting in $2,695,253 being issued by the IRS. Sutton, John Simmons, and Jazzman Simmons were also involved in a scheme to file fraudulent Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program applications. Between August 2013 and January 2014, stolen PII was used to electronically submit 165 fraudulent food stamp applications, seeking $176,704 in benefits.

Texas Man Sentenced for Filing False Tax Claims and Obstructing the IRS
On June 22, 2016, in Houston, Texas, Kenneth Robert Bruce was sentenced to 180 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $3.3 million in restitution to the IRS for willfully filing a false claim and impeding the IRS. Bruce prepared 26 false income tax returns or amended income tax returns claiming a total of more than $9 million in false income tax refunds. One return was for himself and 25 were for other taxpayers. As part of the scheme, Bruce attached false IRS forms 1099-OID (Original Issue Discount) to the tax returns, falsely reporting the taxpayers had received huge amounts of income from OID and had all or nearly all of the false amounts of income withheld for federal income taxes. The huge, false amounts of withholdings formed the bases for the claims for false claims for tax refunds.

Florida Man Sentenced for Orchestrating a Multi-Million Dollar Income Tax Fraud
On June 10, 2016, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Frantz Pierre, of Parkland, Florida, was sentenced to 210 months in prison for orchestrating a multi-million dollar tax fraud scheme and engaging in money laundering. Pierre was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $906,556 and ordered to forfeit his house in Parkland, Florida. From July 2010 through May 2011, Pierre was the leader and organizer of a scheme to steal from the federal government by filling hundreds of fraudulent income tax returns. Pierre and his co-conspirators would establish fictitious tax preparation businesses and then open multiple bank accounts in the names of the fictitious businesses. In addition, Pierre directed the IRS to deposit the fraudulently obtained income tax refunds into the bank accounts set up by the defendant and his co-conspirators. In total, Pierre and his co-conspirators submitted approximately 776 fraudulent tax returns to the IRS, resulting in $5,249,935 in tax refunds to be deposited into the fictitious companies’ bank accounts.

Mo' Money Tax Return Preparers Sentenced for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Filing False Tax Returns
On June 8, 2016, in Washington, DC, Jeremy Blanchard, and Erik Pittman, both of Memphis, Tennessee, we sentenced to serve 70 and 33 months in prison, respectively, to be followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $549,000 to the IRS. Blanchard and Pittman were partners in a return preparation business, Mo' Money Taxes, which operated three locations in the Richmond, Virginia, area. Blanchard, Pittman and others prepared numerous false tax returns for their customers for the 2011 tax year. Blanchard and Pittman admitted that they created and inflated fictitious and fraudulent tax credits to claim tax refunds that customers were not entitled to receive. Their conduct caused a loss to the IRS of more than $250,000, but less than $550,000.  

Bulgarian Citizen Sentenced for Role in $6 Million Tax Refund Scheme
On June 2, 2016, in Newark, New Jersey, Vanyo Minkov, a citizen of the Republic of Bulgaria, was sentenced to 46 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $2,702,555.  In late 2012, Minkov and his conspirators hacked into the networks of at least four accounting firms and stole the 2011 tax filings for over 1,000 of the firms’ clients. Minkov and others then used the stolen information to file fraudulent tax returns in the clients’ names for the 2012 tax year or sold the information to others for the same purpose. To date, the IRS has identified over $6 million in fraudulent claims made in connection with the scheme

Massachusetts Attorney Sentenced for $1.6 Million IRS Scam
On May 25, 2016, in Boston, Massachusetts, R. David Cohen, was sentenced to 54 months in prison and three years of supervised release during which time he is not permitted to practice law or act as a notary. Additionally, Cohen was ordered to pay over $1.6 million in restitution as well as forfeiture.  Cohen engaged in a scheme in which individuals filed fraudulent tax returns with fictitious W-2 information, usually using a name and social security number of a resident of Puerto Rico. Cohen and his co-conspirators deposited more than 100 fraudulently-obtained tax refund checks totaling more than $1 million into bank accounts for Cohen’s “Interest On Lawyer’s Trust Accounts” (IOLTA) and AD Professional Association, Inc. When questioned by bank officials about the deposits, Cohen falsely claimed that the payees were his clients and, on at least one occasion, he provided fake documents purporting that he had the client’s authority to deposit her IRS refund check into his IOLTA account.

Ohio Man Sentenced for Tax and Credit Card Fraud
On May 24, 2016, Columbus, Ohio, Francois Toure, of Reynoldsburg, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $2,087,855 in restitution. Toure and his conspirators obtained personally identifiable information and stolen credit card numbers over the Internet. Toure and the conspirators defrauded financial institutions and their customers by producing, using, trafficking in and possessing stolen credit card numbers. Toure used an encoding device to re-encode the magnetic strips of genuine prepaid/gift cards to reflect the stolen credit card numbers. Toure also engaged in a conspiracy that used the stolen information to file fraudulent US Individual Income Tax Returns, Forms 1040. Toure used counterfeit identification documents to open bank accounts and the fraudulently obtained refunds were deposited into these accounts.

Two Michigan "Homeless" IRS Scam Defendants Sentenced
On May 18, 2016, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Qasim Ibn-Ishaq Verser was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $223,140. Tsiidzoyedu Callista Chiwocha was sentenced to 12 months plus one day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $24,385. Verser, Chiwocha, and their co-defendants, were collectively responsible for filing 965 false tax returns, and collectively received payments of $1,403,367 in false tax refunds. The scheme involved deceiving citizens, many of whom were homeless or suffering from addiction and disabilities, into providing their personal identification information by promising them "free stimulus money." Co-defendants filed fraudulent returns, sometimes for subsequent years, and tax refunds were paid into numerous bank accounts. Taka Chiwocha-Crowell was sentenced to 42 months in prison and Amanda Brook Ely was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay full restitution for their participation in the tax fraud. Two more co-defendants are scheduled for sentencing.

Louisiana Woman Sentenced for Role in Tax Fraud Scheme
On May 18, 2016, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Raven Hughes, of Hammond, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $119,050 to the IRS. Hughes obtained the names and social security numbers of unsuspecting individuals and used that information, without their knowledge or authorization, to prepare false tax returns that claimed large tax refunds. The fraudulent refund checks were mailed to numerous post office boxes and Hughes’ residence or wired into one of Hughes’s four bank accounts. Once the tax refund checks were received, Hughes falsely endorsed and cashed the checks. In total, Hughes caused at least 148 federal income tax returns to be submitted in the names of at least 103 different individuals. As a result, Hughes received approximately $199,050.

Mother and Son Sentenced For Tax Return Preparer Fraud
On May 9, 2016, in Raleigh, North Carolina, Sherry D. Williams, of Greenville, and her son and co-defendant, Thaddeus L. Williams, of Durham, were sentenced to 75 months and 33 months in prison, respectively, and three years of supervised release. Sherry D. Williams was ordered to pay $1,050,976 in restitution and Thaddeus L. Williams was ordered to pay $60,007 in restitution. From approximately May 2012 to January 2013, Sherry Williams worked as a manager and tax return preparer at the Farmville office of Hill’s Tax Service (HTS), a now-defunct, fraudulent tax return preparation business that operated from 2009 through 2013. HTS was owned and operated by Larry D. Hill, a cousin of Sherry Williams. Hill was sentenced in 2014 to 100 months in prison. Between approximately May 2012 and October 2012, Sherry Williams organized, deployed, and managed a scheme at HTS’s Farmville office involving the systematic preparation and filing of nearly 400 false federal income tax returns for tax year 2011. The personal identifying information (“PII”) used on the fraudulent returns was provided by individuals who were falsely told they could receive “federal program money,” a “stimulus check,” or similar government funds. Each fraudulent refund check that resulted from the scheme was typically in excess of $4,000. A small fraction of the refund would be wired to the individual whose PII was used on the offending return. The remainder of the refund proceeds was distributed among Sherry Williams and her co-conspirators. The individuals were never told that a federal income tax return would be filed in their name, or that the payment they received was, in fact, the proceeds of fraudulent refund checks worth thousands more. Also, in December 2012, while still working at HTS, Sherry Williams formed her own fraudulent return company – Best Choice Financial Services (“Best Choice”). By February 2013, Sherry Williams had left HTS and was exclusively operating Best Choice with her son, Thaddeus. From that date until approximately July 2013, Sherry and Thaddeus Williams prepared and electronically filed nearly 200 false federal income tax returns for tax year 2012 through Best Choice, using materially false items.

Former Youth Services Employee Sentenced for Role in Massive Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Scheme
On May 3, 2016, in Washington, D.C., Marc A. Bell, of Bowie, Maryland, was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution to the IRS of $1,972,710. Bell was a former employee of the District of Columbia’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS). Between around May 2010 through April 2013, Bell used his computer access at DYRS to obtain the personal identifying information (PII) of at least 645 then-current and former DYRS youth. Bell provided this PII to other scheme participants, who then used it to file at least 1,160 fraudulent returns that claimed refunds of approximately $4,441,194. The IRS issued approximately $2,422,211 in refunds on these returns for which Bell received financial compensation from his co-conspirators. In total, the scheme involved the participation of 130 people and the filing of at least 12,000 fraudulent federal income tax returns that sought refunds of at least $42 million from the U.S. Treasury.

Missouri Man Sentenced for Tax Refund Scheme
On April 29, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri, Romel Tomlin was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Tomlin is the final of four individuals sentenced for participating in a scheme to file false claims for federal tax refunds for tax years 2008 through 2011. The defendants filed 93 false federal income tax returns as part of a scheme which claimed approximately $335,297 in fraudulent refunds and resulted in a loss to the United States government of $184,464.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Participation in an Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme
On April 28, 2016, in Miami, Florida, Marvin John Janvier, of Miami, was sentenced to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his participation in an identity theft tax fraud scheme. An investigation revealed that 172 tax returns claiming refunds totaling $106,202 were filed from Janvier’s residential address from Jan. 21, 2015 through April 25, 2015. A search of Janvier’s residence uncovered various hand-written notes containing names and addresses of various individuals and email addresses, lists of personal identifying information (PII) including notes containing names with numbers or dollar amounts next to the names, and medical and tax client records containing PII. In many of the cases where a number was written next to a name or next to PII, a fraudulent tax return was filed and the number represented the refund amount. In addition, Janvier’s cellular telephone contained information that appeared on some of the fraudulent tax returns, including bank routing and account numbers, and photographs of Forms W-2 or incoming text messages containing wage and federal income tax withheld figures. Text messages and other conversations on the phone exchanged PII and discussed the filing of tax returns.

Ohio Man Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns While in Prison
On April 28, 2016, in Columbus, Malek B. Aliane was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $90,297 in restitution to the IRS. From 2013 through 2015, while in federal prison or on supervised release, Aliane filed false personal income tax returns, false personal amended income tax returns and false corporate income tax returns with the IRS. He filed six returns in total that claimed false tax refunds through fraudulent federal income tax withholdings. Aliane also created fictitious W-2 and 1099 forms. The six returns claimed a total of $516,318 in false refunds.

Alabama and Georgia Residents Sentenced for Roles in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On April 28, 2016, in Montgomery, Alabama, Ernest James Simmons Jr., of Phenix City, was sentenced to 24 months and 15 days in prison followed by five months of home detention, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $167,194 in restitution.  Calvin J. Perry, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to 32 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $308,152 in restitution. Between 2010 and 2012, Simmons and Perry conspired with Perry’s mother, Pamela Ann Smith, to run a large-scale stolen identity refund fraud scheme from Smith’s tax return preparation business, Jaycal Tax Service, in Phenix City. Smith, Perry and Simmons filed more than 1,200 federal income tax returns using the stolen personal identification information of actual individuals. Simmons was directly connected to false returns claiming more than $700,000 in fraudulent refunds and Perry was directly connected to false returns claiming over $1 million in fraudulent refunds.  U.S. Treasury checks were mailed to physical addresses and post office boxes and then deposited into multiple bank accounts, all under the control of Simmons, Perry and Smith. Perry personally obtained more than $300,000 and Simmons personally obtained more than $150,000 from the scheme. Smith was sentenced to 51 months in prison in February 2016.

Tax Return Preparer Sentenced in Fraudulent Refund Scheme
On April 25, 2016, in Los Angeles, California, Kismaea Rouzan was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay $312,600 in restitution. In 2011 and 2012, Rouzan owned and operated a tax return preparation business named “Mobile Tax Preparers” in Fontana, California. As part of the fraudulent scheme, Rouzan obtained personal identification information (PII) and addresses of taxpayers from “runners,” who were also involved in the fraudulent tax preparation scheme. Rouzan used the PII to prepare fraudulent tax returns. The tax refunds received from the IRS were deposited directly into Rouzan’s bank accounts in full or were split between her bank accounts and prepaid debit cards. The fraudulent refunds were divided between Rouzan, the runners and taxpayers. In total, for the 2010 and 2011 tax years, Rouzan prepared or caused to be prepared over 400 fraudulent tax returns, resulting in a total loss of $846,782.    

Fraudster Sentenced for Wire Fraud, Identity Theft
On April 22, 216, in Austin, Texas, Carl Joseph Cappel, was sentenced to 75 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $227,380 in restitution to the IRS. Beginning about 2009 and continuing through 2013, Cappel obtained the personal identification information of deceased individuals and filed more than 500 false federal income tax returns. The returns claimed more than $1,267,000 in tax refunds. Some of the refund payments were electronically deposited into Cappel's accounts.

Illinois Man Sentenced for Defrauding the IRS and Banks
On April 20, 2016, in Chicago, Illinois, Phillip Smith was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Smith was also ordered to pay restitution of $840,706 to the IRS and $1,796,460 to victim banks. From January 2010 thru April 2013, Smith created wholly fictitious companies and documents for clients that falsely purported the clients earned income from, and had taxes withheld by, one of these fictitious companies. In some cases, Smith directed his clients to a reputable tax preparation business to have a tax return prepared using the fraudulent information. In other cases, Smith personally prepared and submitted false tax returns for his clients which included the false information. Clients paid Smith a portion of these fraudulent refunds. Smith caused over 150 false tax returns for tax years 2009 through 2012 to be filed with the IRS claiming approximately $1,250,876 in fraudulent refunds and causing an actual loss of approximately $840,706. If a client had subsequent dealings with the IRS, Smith created fictitious verification documents and posed as an employer during phone calls. Furthermore, Smith failed to file any income tax returns for himself for tax years 2009 through 2012. Additionally, Smith created fraudulent employment-related documentation to enable straw buyers to obtain fraudulent and inflated mortgage loans. The straw buyers later defaulted on the loans, causing financial losses to the financial institutions.

Former Prisoner, Co-Defendants Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On April 19, 2016, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Eliseo Ortiz was sentenced to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Between 2008 and about April 28, 2010, Ortiz was incarcerated at Stillwater Correctional Facility, where he recruited and directed numerous co-conspirators to provide names and social security numbers to use in preparing and filing false tax returns. In addition, Ortiz recruited help from outside the prison to execute the scheme, including co-defendants Stacey Jean Berghammer and Shannon Lee Trollen. Ortiz’ co-conspirators were asked to provide addresses for non-incarcerated trusted associates who could transfer money from tax refunds to the defendants and other co-conspirators. Ortiz provided the information he obtained from the co-conspirators to Berghammer or Trollen, who would then complete and file the false tax returns. Berghammer was sentenced to time served and Trollen will be sentenced at a later date.

Florida Tax Return Preparer Sentenced for Tax Fraud, Identity Theft
On April 15, 2016, in Miami, Florida, Shontavia Monique Williams was sentenced to 46 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $693,033 in restitution to the IRS. Williams was the owner of A-Z Tax Solutions, Inc. (A-Z Tax), a tax preparation business. On Jan. 17, 2012, an individual income tax return was filed for tax year 2011 that included Williams’ electronic filing identification number (EFIN) and preparer tax identification number (PTIN) claiming a refund of $6,169.  A refund for the same amount was electronically wired into Williams’ bank account and she subsequently withdrew the funds. The individual for whom the tax return was filed did not give Williams permission to file a tax return on his behalf, nor did he give Williams permission to use his personal identifiable information to use on the tax return.

Owners of Tax Preparation Business Sentenced for Filing Bogus Tax Returns for Prison Inmates
On April 15, 2016, in Trenton, New Jersey, Kamal J. James, aka “Bro Messiah Aziz El,” of Seaford, Delaware, and Crystal G. Hawkins, aka “Sis. Crystal Gabri El,” of Laurel, Delaware, were sentenced to 96 and 48 months in prison, respectively. Both were also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $570,897.  Between October 2011 and October 2013, James and Hawkins operated Release Refunds, a purported tax preparation business – previously based in Brick, New Jersey, and in Seaford – through which they solicited current and former New Jersey prison inmates as clients and then filed fraudulent tax returns on their behalf. Inmates provided basic identification information and signed income tax returns and other IRS documents, but James and Hawkins fabricated the inmates’ earnings to trigger fraudulent and inflated refunds.

Six Florida Residents Sentenced for Extensive Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On April 5 and 7, 2016, in Miami, Florida, six defendants were sentenced for their participation in an extensive stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme involving the personal identifying information (PII) of more than 29,000 individuals. The defendants used the PII to file thousands of fraudulent federal income tax returns with the IRS. The six were sentenced as follows:  
• Harlan Decoste - 234 months in prison.
• Kerby Luma - 132 months in prison.
• Frantz Decoste - 54 months in prison.
• Francis Jeudy - 116 months in prison and ordered to pay joint and several, restitution in the amount of $28,211,434, with Harlan Decoste, Kerby Luma and Frantz Decoste.  
• Andy Cherrelus - 94 months in prison and ordered to pay joint and several, restitution in the amount of $10,000,000.  
• Chad Davis - four months in prison.
During an investigation of another matter at the home occupied by Harlan Decoste, Frantz Decoste, Luma, and Jeudy, evidence of narcotics activity, approximately 500 debit cards issued in other persons’ names, PII and other return information and tax refund checks in other persons’ names was found. In addition, the officers seized computers and USB drives that contained over 29,000 individual pieces of PII, along with additional user-inputted information such as the victims’ true addresses, fictitious addresses associated with tax returns, account numbers, IRS filing personal identification numbers, and refund amounts. The defendants filed numerous fraudulent federal tax returns claiming, collectively, tens of millions of dollars associated with the PII recovered from the residence. As part of the scheme, the defendants directed the IRS to transfer the tax refunds to various accounts that the defendants and their co-conspirators controlled.

Tampa Man Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On April 7, 2016 in Tampa, Florida, Major Dixon was sentenced to 61 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $129,505 to the IRS for his role in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme. Between February and September 2012, Dixon and others filed false and fraudulent income tax returns in the names of others, including deceased individuals. In these fraudulent returns, the conspirators represented that they were entitled to refunds and requested the IRS to direct funds to accounts they established. Three other participants of the conspiracy were sentenced as follows:
• Arthur Murray was sentenced to 21 months in prison and was ordered to pay restitution of $19,235 to the IRS.
• Rosea Armstrong was sentenced to 36 months’ probation and was ordered to pay restitution of $46,641 to the IRS.
• Sonja Lang was sentenced to time served and was ordered to pay restitution of $37,158 to the IRS.
Another participant, Lasia Maxwell is scheduled to be sentenced.

Former Oregon Resident Sentenced for Role in Tax Fraud Scheme
On April 5, 2016, in Portland, Tataneisha White was sentenced to 37 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $626,750 in restitution to the IRS. White conspired with multiple individuals, including Jasmine Mason, Shawntina Ware and Brandon Leath, to file more than 227 false income tax returns claiming more than $1 million in fraudulent refunds. The false information on the tax returns included fictitious W-2 wages and inflated withholding amounts to generate tax refunds ranging from $1,000 to $12,000. White and her co- conspirators shared personal identifying information and employer information with each other to file the false returns. White directed the IRS to divide the fraudulently obtained tax refunds between bank accounts and debit cards controlled by White and others, including friends and family members of White and her co-conspirators. Mason and Leath were previously sentenced to 32 months and 24 months in prison, respectively.

California Man Sentenced in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme
On April 5, 2016, Los Angeles, Adel Cotton was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay $725,294 in restitution to the IRS. Beginning in December 2008 and continuing through March 2010, Cotton and his son caused at least 275 fraudulent income tax returns to be filed with the IRS. Those fraudulent returns sought income tax refunds totaling more than $2.6 million. As part of the scheme, Cotton obtained names and social security numbers of individuals without their knowledge and consent. Cotton, with the help of others, prepared false Forms W-2 in the names of the identity theft victims that reported false employment and income information, as well as false tax withholding amounts. Using the falsified information reported on the Forms W-2, Cotton and others prepared fraudulent individual income tax returns claiming false tax refunds. The tax returns were filed without the knowledge or consent of the identity theft victims. Adel Cotton was one of 53 people convicted in relation to the “Old Quest” tax refund scheme that fraudulently sought more than $250 million in tax refunds. Heber Cotton is currently awaiting sentencing.

Wisconsin Couple Sentenced for Roles in False Federal Tax Return and Identity Theft Fraud
On March 31, 2016, in Milwaukee, Vladimir Sonin, of Bayside, was sentenced to 58 months in prison and three years of supervised release. On March 22, 2016, Sonin’s wife, Natalya Sonina, was sentenced to 39 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Both were ordered to pay $308,499 in restitution. From approximately January 2013 until May 2015, the couple participated in a scheme to defraud others. Part of the scheme included stealing money from the IRS and state treasuries through electronically filed fraudulent tax returns claiming a tax refund in the names of identity theft victims. The couple also received, by mail, unauthorized access devices issued by financial institutions in the names of the identity theft victims. The couple then caused the IRS and state treasuries to electronically place stolen tax refunds onto those unauthorized access devices. The couple used those unauthorized access devices at ATMs and transferred a majority of the scheme proceeds to individuals in the Ukraine. In addition, the couple participated in a scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims who paid to remove a “ransomware” virus that had frozen their computers.

Five Individuals Sentenced in South Carolina for Tax Fraud
On March 31, 2016, in Columbia, South Carolina, Jeffrey Henry, Jefford Henry, Linda Marie Henry, Makeshia Glover and Bobby McGuire were sentenced to terms ranging from 121 to 46 months in prison on tax fraud and money laundering charges. According to court records, the defendants are members of the Moorish Nation. They stole approximately $2 million from the IRS and attempted to steal over $12 million by submitting fraudulent tax returns. Once the money was deposited, the defendants shared in the proceeds, buying automobiles and property.

Five Florida Residents Sentenced for Participating in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On March 30, 2016, in Miami, Lawrence Bernadel, of Tallahassee, was sentenced to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Previously, Bernadel’s co-conspirators, John Mackenley Cesar, Chedlor Dorilus, Lubens Inalien and Ariel Ronet Walker, were sentenced to terms ranging from 70 months in prison to five years of probation. Cesar, Bernadel, Dorilus and Inalien were ordered to jointly pay restitution of $580,584. Walker was ordered to pay restitution of $124,631. From January 2014 through April 2014, the defendants used the same Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) to file approximately 158 fraudulent tax returns with the IRS using stolen personal identifying information (“PII”) of other individuals. The defendants’ residences contained PII for over 1,800 other individuals. The defendants arranged to have the tax refunds deposited onto pre-paid debit cards and then used the funds to purchase personal items or withdrew the funds from ATMs. The total intended loss amount from the unauthorized tax filings and PII was between $1 million and $2.5 million dollars.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
On March 28, 2016, in Miami, Florida, Ronel Junior Lamour was sentenced to 34 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In 2013, Lamour used names, dates of birth and social security numbers of other people to file 2012 tax returns. As part of the scheme, Lamour set up bank accounts using unauthorized debit cards in the names of the filers and had the refunds wired into the accounts. A search of Lamour’s cell phone contained copies of passports, driver’s licenses and the social security cards of over 50 individuals, 25 of which were found to have had false 2012 tax returns filed in their names.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Participation in a Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
On March 24, 2016, in Miami, Damian Williams, of North Miami Beach, was sentenced to 61 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $11,556. On or about Jan. 18, 2013, law enforcement officers searched Williams’ residence and discovered a laptop with a list of over 2,000 items of personal identifying information (PII). Several of the individuals identified from the laptop were victims of identity theft related to the fraudulent filing of their federal income tax returns. Additionally, the trunk of Williams’ vehicle contained a firearm, ammunition and PII for more than 50 individuals and completed income tax forms. The intended loss to the government was $643,205.

Pakistani Man Sentenced for Scheme to Steal More Than $800,000 in Tax Refunds
On March 24, 2016, in Manhattan, New York, Nisar Sahi was sentenced to 37 months in prison. Sahi was also ordered to forfeit $319,712 and pay restitution to the IRS in the same amount. From 2011 to 2015, Sahi devised and executed a scheme to obtain false and fraudulent tax returns totaling $803,995 from the IRS by preparing and submitting to the IRS federal income tax returns, using the names and social security numbers of others, and directing that the refunds be sent to bank accounts and addresses that he controlled.

Three North Carolina Residents Sentenced for Tax Fraud
Between March 21 and Feb. 18, 2016, in Charlotte, three people were sentenced for their roles in a conspiracy to defraud the United States Treasury. Daniel Heggins was sentenced to 41 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $24,325 in restitution to victims of his fraud and the IRS. Marlowe Williams was sentenced to seven months in prison followed by seven months of home confinement as part of his two years of supervised release. Joan Clark was sentenced to 20 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release. Williams and Clark were jointly ordered to pay restitution of $601,780 to the IRS. Clark also pleaded guilty to an additional conspiracy charge connected to another scheme. In early 2011, Williams and Clark established a trust purportedly for charitable purposes and filed tax returns in the name of the trust for tax years 2008, 2009 and 2010. Heggins and Clark participated in a separate conspiracy in which they operated Guarantor Manufactures Inc. (GMI), a business that purported to help individuals in debt. Heggins, Clark and other co-conspirators in that scheme prepared and filed false tax returns on behalf of GMI’s clients claiming fraudulent tax refunds for the amount of their clients’ debts. The intended loss of the conspiracy exceeded $4 million. Heggins also charged GMI’s clients bogus filing fees of $2,500 to $5,000 in order to prepare and file the fraudulent returns.

Korean National Sentenced for Crimes Ranging From Identity Theft to Illegal Firearm Possession
On March 18, 2016, in Seattle, Washington, Chong Hwa Lim, aka Jong Wha Rim, of Federal Way, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $49,815 in restitution. When law enforcement search Lim’s apartment, they found high-end identity device making equipment; police equipment; counterfeit identifications, credit cards and immigration documents; hundreds of new social security cards; weapons; and a binder containing names, social security numbers, and other identifying information for taxpayers (real and fake) used by the conspirators when filing fraudulent tax returns. Lim and his co-conspirators submitted false tax returns under the names of other people and obtained more than $49,000 in fraudulent refunds. Lim also used a fake Korean passport to obtain a Washington State driver’s license in a false name.

Florida Man Sentenced for Identity Fraud and Tax Fraud Scheme
On March 18, 2016, in Orlando, Florida, Joseph A. Johns was sentenced to 60 months in prison. Johns kept ledgers containing the personal identifying information (PII) of hundreds of individuals in his car along with approximately 197 debit cards in the names of various individuals. Johns used the victim information to file fraudulent tax returns and receive tax refunds in the victims’ names. Johns arranged for these tax refunds to be deposited onto prepaid debit cards in his possession. Through this scheme, Johns obtained at least $158,425 in fraudulent federal tax refunds. He also received at least $15,914 in fraudulent state tax refunds from Georgia.

Woman Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On March 16, 2016, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mariely Malavet-Rivera was sentenced to 34 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $103,632 to the IRS. From 2010 until 2013, Malavet-Rivera developed a scheme to submit false federal tax returns seeking the additional child tax credit (ACTC) to obtain fraudulent tax refunds. The fraudulent returns included the personal identification information of others without their knowledge or consent. The fraudulent refunds were directed to bank accounts Malavet-Rivera controlled and her postal address.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Tax and Unemployment Insurance Claims Fraud Schemes
On March 15, 2016, in Miami, Florida, Elton Lloyd Bandoo, aka “Ebdaiceman,” of North Miami Beach, was sentenced to 84 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $585,070. When law enforcement served a search warrant at Bandoo’s residence, they found computers and external media devices containing the personal identification information (PII) of approximately 27,000 victims. Papers, including medical facility billing forms from a medical facility and handwritten lists containing the PII of 1,400 individuals were also in the residence. The PII was used to file fraudulent tax returns, many in the names of deceased individuals, seeking $1,073,112 in fraudulent refunds. In addition, Bandoo filed nine fraudulent unemployment insurance claims requesting $11,804 in unauthorized payments. In total, the amount of intended loss resulting from Bandoo’s fraudulent schemes was $14,826,443.

Former Bank Employees Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On March 14, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia, Jeoffrey Jenkins was sentenced to 75 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $570,034 in restitution. Co-conspirator, Vaughn Chambers, was sentenced on March 3, 2016, to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $9,464 in restitution. From at least February 2013 until at least March 2014, Jenkins and Chambers, both bank employees, stole personally identifying information (PII) from bank customers then used that information to open bank accounts. The men listed these bank accounts in over 2,000 fraudulent tax returns filed with the IRS, with the intention that tax refunds would be deposited into the fraudulently opened accounts. The bank accounts opened by the two men were set up to receive approximately $2.5 million in fraudulent tax refunds. Approximately $500,000 was actually deposited into the bank accounts by the IRS.  

California Man Sentenced for Tax Scheme
On March 8, 2016, in Los Angeles, California, Antonio Jerome Cook, of North Hollywood, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $537,309 in restitution to the IRS. Starting in late 2008 or early 2009, Cook, along with two co-conspirators, developed a tax fraud scheme in which the defendants prepared and filed fraudulent tax returns for individuals. The fraudulent returns were filed on behalf of individuals who agreed to have the defendants prepare their tax returns (apparently without knowledge of the fraud scheme), as well as individuals whose identities were stolen. The fraudulent tax returns indicated that the taxpayers were employed by businesses established by Cook and a co-conspirator in name only. In fact, the businesses did not have any employees and the taxpayers were never actually employed. The tax returns indicated the businesses had excessively withheld income tax for each taxpayer, and each fraudulently filed tax return sought a tax refund the taxpayers were not entitled to receive. In total, Cook filed 182 fraudulent returns between 2009 and 2010 seeking tax refunds totaling $1,225,901. Co-conspirator Rebecca Magruder, of Dallas, Texas was sentenced in January to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $119,671 in restitution for her role in the scheme.

Thirteen Defendants Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On Feb. 29, 2016, in Springfield, Missouri, Cherie Christine Dupuis was sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $272,819 in restitution. From February 2009 to March 2012, conspirators recruited individuals to assist in filing fraudulent returns. They obtained their identifying information and used that information to file federal income tax returns that included fictitious information. Conspirators also created fictitious W-2 forms. Dupuis filed fraudulent federal income tax returns in her own name and for at least 19 other individuals. The 12 co-defendants were sentenced to a range of terms including probation, time served and 10 months in prison; as well as ordered to pay restitution ranging in amounts from $4,541 to $29,409.

North Carolina Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud Conspiracy and Identity Theft
On Feb. 25, 2016, in Wilmington, Tonya Marie Battle, of Greenville, was sentenced to 90 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $1,635,515 to the IRS. Battle, with the assistance of others, recruited individuals offering significant refunds through the use of their name and identifying information. In addition, Battle used a list of children and added them as dependents on numerous returns. Battle opened TBS Tax Service in January 2011, and filed returns using an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN). Battle created and used at least 14 fictitious companies and provided false employee information for each business. Battle then created fictitious Form 1099s to make it appear as though the TBS Tax Service clients had income from the fake companies. Once the returns were accepted and funded by the IRS, Battle printed refund checks in her office. An assistant escorted clients to a check cashing service where the assistant took a portion of most checks as additional fees and returned the cash to Battle. Between January 2011 and April 2012, Battle filed, or caused to be electronically filed, 366 fraudulent returns with the IRS.

Alabama Tax Preparer Sentenced for Involvement in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Feb. 24, 2016, in Montgomery, Pamela Ann Smith, of Lanett, was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $340,057. Between 2007 and 2012, Smith led a large-scale stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF) scheme from her tax preparation business, Jaycal Tax Service, in Phenix City, Alabama. Smith recruited her son, Calvin Perry and his friend, Ernest Simmons Jr., to participate in the scheme. As part of the conspiracy, Smith, Perry and Simmons filed more than 1,200 federal income tax returns using the stolen personal identification information (PII) of actual individuals. The tax returns filed by Smith and her co-conspirators sought more than $4 million in fraudulent refunds from the IRS. U.S. Treasury checks were mailed to physical addresses and post office boxes under Smith’s control and subsequently deposited into multiple bank accounts controlled by Smith, Perry and Simmons. Smith personally received more than $300,000 from this scheme. Perry and Simmons also pleaded guilty in December 2015 for their involvement in this SIRF scheme and are scheduled to be sentenced.

Former IRS Employee Sentenced for Fraud Scheme and Identity Theft
On Feb. 22, 2016, in Jefferson City, Missouri, Demetria Michele Brown, of Birmingham, Alabama, and formerly of Fairview Height, Illinois, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution totaling $326,000 to the state of Missouri and the IRS. While employed at the IRS, Brown unlawfully obtained the personally identifiable information of at least 120 other persons. Using this information, Brown filed more than 120 fraudulent federal tax returns and at least 236 fraudulent state tax returns.

Leader of Multimillion-Dollar Tax Fraud Scheme Involving Children’s Identities Sentenced
On Feb. 22, 2016, in Manhattan, New York, Noel Cuello, of the Bronx, was sentenced to 108 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $3.5 million and pay $3.5 million in restitution. Cuello led a large-scale identity theft and tax fraud scheme through which the personal identifying information (PII) of minors was obtained through corrupt payments to Francisco Abreu, who at that time was a fraud investigator with the New York City Human Resources Administration. The PII was then used by Cuello and his co-conspirators to file thousands of fraudulent tax returns. Between approximately 2009 and spring 2014, through a tax preparation business in the Bronx, the conspirators charged individual taxpayers a cash fee in return for preparation and filing of false tax returns claiming the taxpayer had one or more minor dependents, to take fraudulent advantage of the EITC. The co-conspirators also filed their own fraudulent returns in multiple years, falsely claiming to have one or more minor dependents. Joel Vargas, Catherine Ricart, Arismendy Cuello, Jonathan Orbe, and Luz C. Ricardo were sentenced to a range of 24 to 66 months in prison for their participation in the conspiracy. Abreu is scheduled to be sentenced at a future date.

California Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On Feb. 18, 2016, in Oakland, Tanya Keith was sentenced to 12 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $19,944. Between January 15, 2011 and May 15, 2012, Keith, along with her co-conspirators, obtained the names and social security numbers of other individuals and used the information to prepare false federal income tax returns. The co-conspirators filed a total of 219 false federal income tax returns and claimed over $678,000 in tax refunds. Co-defendants Cassandra Tompkins, of Oakland, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and Cordia Spearman, of Vacaville, was sentenced to three years of probation. Damien Mitchell, of El Sobrante, will be sentenced at a later date.

Florida Residents Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
On Feb. 17, 2016, in Miami, Kelli Witherspoon McIntosh was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $775,242 for her participation in a stolen identity tax fraud (SIRF) scheme. Co-conspirators Latonia Verdell and Starling Willis were previously convicted of aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Verdell was sentenced to 94 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $947,296. Willis was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $32,551, jointly with Verdell. The trio participated in a widespread SIRF scheme involving at least 790 stolen identities and personal identification information (PII). This scheme resulted in the submission to the IRS of more than 590 fraudulent returns in the names of other persons, seeking approximately $1.5 million in fraudulent income tax refunds.

Five Defendants Sentenced in Extensive Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme
On Feb. 10, 2016, in Miami, Florida, Ronald Jerome Scriven and Danesa Latoya Webb were sentenced to 108 months and 54 months in prison respectively. Scriven was ordered to pay restitution of $7,521,485; Webb was ordered to pay $3,271,603. Three additional co-conspirators were previously sentenced to terms ranging from 18 to 31 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution totaling $2,196,035. Scriven created nine business entities, seven of which were tax preparation businesses using his name, the names of co-conspirators, or the names of individuals whose identities were stolen. Scriven, Webb and others obtained electronic filing identification numbers (EFINs) from the IRS for the tax preparation businesses to electronically submit false tax returns. Scriven, and other co-conspirators, used personal identifying information (PII) of recruited taxpayers and others, both living and deceased, to submit false tax returns. Fees totaling $700,000 were deducted from the tax refunds and deposited into bank accounts controlled by the co-conspirators. Scriven and Webb printed refund checks in the names of taxpayers whose identities were used to file the false tax returns. Some of the co-conspirators accompanied these taxpayers to cash the refund checks and would then demand a substantial portion of the proceeds obtained from the cashed checks.  

Florida Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Conspiracy
On Feb. 1, 2016, in Tampa, Bobby Muhammad was sentenced to 94 months in prison and ordered to pay $650,631 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury, jointly with his co-conspirator, Tiffani Pye Williams. From December 2011 through October 2015, Muhammad, Williams and others electronically filed fraudulent federal income tax returns using more than 400 stolen identities. The fraudulently obtained tax refunds were wired from the IRS to reloadable debit cards. Muhammad and others then used these debit cards at various ATMs. Investigators determined that Muhammad and his co-conspirators attempted to make claims for refunds totaling approximately $3,089,219, and received approximately $650,631 in fraudulently obtained refunds. Williams was sentenced to 123 months in prison on Sept. 29, 2015 for her part in the scheme.

Florida Man Sentenced for Role in Fraudulent Tax Return Scheme
On Feb. 1, 2016, in Columbia, South Carolina, Amondo Samuel Burke, of Tampa, Florida, was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $111,228 to the IRS. Burke ran a criminal tax scheme where he used the personal identifying information of unsuspecting individuals to file false tax returns and have the fraudulent returns loaded onto pre-paid debit cards. Through this scheme Burke received a total of $111,228 in fraudulently obtained tax refunds from the IRS.

Alabama Woman Sentenced for Role in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Ring
On Jan. 28, 2016, in Montgomery, Alabama, Benita E. Short, of Phenix City, was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $116,636 in restitution. During 2013, Short conspired with others to defraud the United States by filing false federal income tax returns using stolen identities. Short obtained personal identifiable information (PII) without the individuals’ authorization and then used the PII to electronically file 326 fraudulent tax returns with the IRS, causing a tax loss of $456,853. Short also caused income tax refund checks, that were issued as a result of the fraudulent tax returns, to be cashed at several businesses in Alabama and Georgia.  One of Short’s co-conspirators, Keshia Lanier, the ringleader of a $24 million SIRF conspiracy, was previously sentenced to 180 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $5,811,406.

Two Florida  Men Sentenced For Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Conspiracy
On Jan. 28, 2016, in Tampa, Florida, Cedrick Brown and Kareem Spann and were sentenced to 124 months and 84 months in prison, respectively, for their involvement in a Stolen Identity Refund Fraud conspiracy. In addition, a money judgment was entered in the amount of $412,758. Spann, Brown and others engaged in a conspiracy and scheme to steal identities, file fraudulent federal income tax returns, obtain tax refunds in the names of the identity theft victims, and share in the proceeds.  The conspirators and others had filed fraudulent tax returns for the 2011 and 2012 tax years, claiming refunds totaling $2,317,095 and receiving refunds in the amount of $412,326. The conspirators used the stolen PII of over 250 victims.

Florida Residents Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Jan. 26, 2016, in Miami, Florida, Roland Alexis was sentenced to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release. His co-conspirator, Jim Joseph, received the same sentence on Jan. 20, 2016. In addition Alexis was ordered to pay $1,805,332 in restitution, forfeit two properties in Miami and $369,776 in proceeds held in a bank account. Joseph was ordered to pay $1,225,686 in restitution to the IRS. Joseph and Alexis conspired to file more than 860 false income tax returns claiming more than $1 million in refunds from the IRS. The men obtained personal identification information (PII) belonged to prisoners, deceased individuals and others. Joseph, Alexis and others recruited knowing co-conspirators and unknowing victims to obtain Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) in their names through which fraudulent income tax returns would be filed. In late 2009, Alexis and Joseph, along with a co-conspirator, formed Worldwide Income Tax Multi-Services LLC and North Miami Income Tax Services. The companies were created with the intended purpose of filing fraudulent tax returns through EFINs using stolen PII.

Florida Couple Sentenced Involving Tax Scheme
On Jan. 26, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri, Alexsandr Rabikov, a native of Belarus and permanent resident of the United States living in Hallandale Beach, Florida, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for his part in a conspiracy to file false tax returns and steal government funds. The computer system of a financial institution in the St. Louis area was hacked into and personal identifying information (PII) of individuals employed by that financial institution was stolen. The PII was then used to prepare false tax returns. All of the false tax returns had refunds due, which Rabikov collected and deposited into accounts that he controlled, either personally or through a network of other individuals throughout Florida, including his girlfriend and co-defendant, Yulia Belomyttseva. When agents from IRS Criminal Investigation arrived at the couples’ beachfront apartment to arrest them, Rabikov and Belomyttseva unsuccessfully attempted to destroy evidence of their scheme by boiling and then freezing laptop computers before the investigating agents entered the apartment. Belomyttseva, a Russian national was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison.

California Return Preparer Sentenced for Creating Fraudulent Tax Shelters
On Jan. 21, 2016, in Santa Ana, California, Randall Craig Hutchens, former Chief Executive Officer and President of Accounting Services, Inc. (“ASI”), was sentenced to 57 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution to the IRS. From approximately May 2010 until October 2013, Hutchens sold fraudulent tax shelters to numerous clients through his tax preparation company, by promoting them as legal ways to reduce their prospective tax liabilities. For customers who bought the shelters, Hutchens would then prepare their tax returns, including in them false losses related to the tax shelter. Hutchens prepared and filed with the IRS at least 125 false federal income tax returns that resulted in tax losses to the United States of at least $1,622,512.

Co-Defendants Sentenced for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
On Jan. 19, 2016, in Texarkana, Arkansas, Shawn D. Carey and Erica R. Browning, both of El Dorado, were sentenced to 38 months and 24 months in prison, respectively. Carey was ordered to pay restitution of over $1,000,000 jointly with co-defendants. Browning was ordered to pay restitution of over $88,000 jointly with co-defendants. From January 2009 through December 2011, Carey, Browning and others used the personal identifying information of others to file fictitious and fraudulent claims using U.S. Individual Income Tax Forms 1040. Between January 2009 and November 2011, Carey and other co-conspirators filed at least 665 fraudulent tax returns requesting more than $2,300,000 in refunds. The remaining six defendants pleaded guilty and will be sentenced at a later date.

Pennsylvania Woman Sentenced for Theft of Government Funds and Filing a False Return
On Jan. 19, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Brittney Harris was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution to the IRS. Harris’ personal bank account was listed as the recipient of IRS tax refunds for seven different individuals, funds which Harris was not entitled to receive. Additionally, personal identifying information of six of these individuals was found at Harris’ apartment. Finally, Harris willfully filed a false U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040, for the 2009 calendar year, falsely reporting withheld federal income taxes of $7,236 when in fact she did not have $7,236 of federal income tax withheld.

Texas Woman Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Theft Scheme
On Jan. 15, 2016, in Austin, Texas, Micha Lovely, aka Anisha Denean Caldwell and Latoya Jackson, was sentenced to 108 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $164,134 to the IRS. Beginning in 2011 and continuing until May 21, 2014, Lovely and others obtained personal identifying information (PII) of individuals and used that information to file fraudulent federal tax returns. Lovely and her co-conspirators then used the PII to electronically file tax returns using fictitious wage and federal income tax withholding amounts, with the intention and result that the IRS issued false tax refunds. Lovely and her co-conspirators typically directed the IRS to deposit these false refunds onto prepaid debit cards in the victims' names or be issued in the form of United States Treasury checks, which were sent to addresses controlled by Lovely or her co-conspirators. Lovely and her co-conspirators used the victim’s PII to open bank accounts and directed false tax refund checks to be deposited into these accounts, after which they used ATMS to withdraw the proceeds in cash.

Washington DC Man Sentenced For Role in Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Scheme
On Jan. 15, 2016, in Washington, District of Columbia, Ezekiel Raspberry was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $315,076 in restitution to the IRS. Raspberry is among approximately 16 defendants who have participated in a massive and sophisticated stolen identity refund fraud scheme that involved an extensive network of more than 130 people, many of whom were receiving public assistance. The overall case involves the filing of at least 12,000 fraudulent federal income tax returns that sought refunds of at least $42 million. The refunds were sought for tax years 2005 through 2012, often in the names of people, whose identities had been stolen, including the elderly, people in assisted living facilities, drug addicts and prisoners. In other cases, the refunds were sent to people who were willing participants in the scheme.

Mississippi Residents Sentenced For Roles in Tax Fraud Scheme
On Jan. 14, 2016, in Jackson, Mississippi, Brenda Norman, of McComb, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to repay $493,111 to the IRS jointly with Yvonne Gary. Norman obtained the names and social security numbers of elderly and disabled individuals she met through her religious organization. After obtaining this information, Norman provided it to co-conspirator, Yvonne Gary, who then used the information to prepare and submit fraudulent federal income tax returns to the IRS. The false income tax returns contained false wage and income information with fraudulent deductions and credits and claimed a total of $493,111 in refunds. Gary was sentenced on Sept. 10, 2015, to 32 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

Florida Man Sentenced for Extensive Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Jan. 11, 2016, in Miami, Florida, Dezman Dunbar Zama, of Fort Lauderdale, was sentenced to 63 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $119,080 in restitution. From March 2012 through August 2012, co-defendant Brandi Mary Janice Stroman obtained the bank account information of Zama, Jerrod Bosket and others so the accounts could be used to deposit fraudulent refunds. Zama and his  co-conspirators filed false tax returns using the personally identifiable information (PII) of patients of a medical services provider. At least 27 false returns were filed requesting $105,313 in fraudulent refunds. Stroman was previously sentenced to 61 months in prison and ordered to pay $119,080 in restitution. Co-defendant Jerrod Dashon Bosket was previously sentenced to time served.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Stealing IDs, Filing False Tax Returns
On Jan. 8, 2016, in Tampa, Florida, Donterryo L. Washington was sentenced to 102 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $57,129 to the IRS, as well as a monetary judgment of $8,876. In February 2013, Washington was arrested for an unrelated offense and a search revealed 10 debit cards in different names. A subsequent investigation uncovered that Washington was responsible for using stolen identities to file false income tax returns. The returns sought a total of about $252,173 in tax refunds from the IRS, resulting in an actual loss of $94,087.

Canadian Man Sentenced for $10 Million Income Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Jan. 4, 2016, in Rochester, New York, Kevin Cyster, of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, was sentenced to 135 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,553,303 in restitution to the IRS. Cyster was part of a group of Canadian citizens who filed tax returns with the IRS that contained fraudulent Forms 1099-OID. The returns falsely claimed that nearly $10 million in federal income taxes had been withheld on their behalf by various Canadian financial institutions and paid over to the IRS. The false Forms 1099-OID were created and filed with the IRS by Ronald Brekke, of Orange County, California, and not by the financial institutions. No federal income taxes were paid over to the IRS on behalf of Cyster and his co-conspirators and they were not entitled to the refunds claimed on their tax returns. Co-conspirator Brekke was sentenced to 144 months in prison. Another conspirator, Renee Jarvis, of Ontario, is scheduled to be sentenced.  

Oklahoma Man Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Fraud
On Dec. 31, 2015, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Jimmy Bostic was sentenced to 21 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $58,021 in restitution to the IRS. Between February 2012 and March 2013, Bostic filed false federal tax returns in the names of individuals, without their knowledge or permission. Bostic attached false W-2s for employers that did not employ those individuals. The false returns directed the IRS to deposit the claimed tax refunds into Bostic’s bank account.

Two Individuals Sentenced for Stealing Personal Information of More Than 1,400 People
On Dec. 21, 2015, in Detroit, Michigan, Markitta Washington, of Hampton, Georgia, previously of Farmington Hills, and Martez Lear, of Farmington Hills, were sentenced to 47 months and 56 months in prison, respectively. In addition, Washington and Lear were each ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $489,883. Washington, who worked for Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital and DMC Harper Hospital, removed patient records that included Personal Identifying Information (PII) and used the PII to file fraudulent tax returns in other’s names. A search executed at the shared residence of Washington and Lear patient identification documents and handwritten notes that included PII for approximately 1,400 individuals. The tax refunds were directed to accounts under the control of Washington and Lear.

California Resident Sentenced for Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On Dec. 17, 2015, in Oakland, California, Cassandra Tompkins was sentenced to 20 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $678,426 in restitution. Between Jan. 15, 2011 and May 15, 2012, Tompkins, along with Cordia Spearman, Damien Mitchell and Tanya Keith, obtained and used personal identifying information (PII) to prepare false federal income tax returns. The defendants filed 219 false federal income tax returns with the IRS claiming $678,426 in tax refunds, of which $287,498 was paid by the IRS. Tompkins maintained notebooks that listed the names and other PII for taxpayers, along with false W-2s, which she filed with the IRS. Tompkins, Spearman and Mitchell all received a portion of certain tax refunds. The sentencing dates for the remaining defendants have been scheduled.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Identity Theft Scheme
On Dec. 17, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Christopher M. Mack was sentenced to 102 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Mack previously pleaded guilty to possession of 15 or more counterfeit and unauthorized access devices, possession of device-making equipment and aggravated identity theft. Mack engaged in a scheme to skim credit card numbers from the customers of a restaurant, manufacture counterfeit credit cards and file false federal income tax returns. Mack’s residence contained a magnetic stripe encoder, a credit card skimmer, over 100 counterfeit credit cards embossed with Mack’s name, personal identifying information of approximately 600 individuals, 1,000 social security numbers, and approximately $200,000 worth of money order receipts. Mack kept notebook entries detailing the filing of federal tax returns, which corresponded to fraudulently filed tax returns submitted to the IRS.

Texans Sentenced for Inmate Income Tax Scheme
On Dec. 15, 2015, in Beaumont, Texas, Stasha Franchell Anderson and Jessica Bellis were sentenced to 36 and 30 months in prison, respectively. Co-conspirator Derek Cornelius Briscoe, held himself out as a tax preparer sometimes doing business as “Thaferrets Tax Service.” Briscoe offered female inmates at the Jefferson County jail a fee in exchange for personally identifying information (PII) of other inmates that could be used to file false tax returns. Anderson and Bellis were inmates who supplied Briscoe with PII of other inmates, which Briscoe used to electronically file fraudulent tax returns for the years 2009, 2010, and 2011. During times when Anderson was not incarcerated, she also aided Briscoe in the preparation of the false tax returns. Anderson, Bellis, and Briscoe were involved in the preparation of over 500 false tax returns. Anderson was ordered to pay restitution of $156,519 to the IRS while Bellis was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $30,000. Both women are jointly liable for $1,127,193 in total restitution along with Briscoe. On Nov. 19, 2015, Briscoe was sentenced to 57 months in prison for his part in the scheme.

Oregon Resident Sentenced for Role in Million Dollar Tax Fraud Scheme
On Dec. 10, 2015, in Portland, Oregon, Jasmine Mason was sentenced to 32 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $336,937 in restitution to the IRS. Mason conspired with Tataneisha White, Shawntina Ware, Brandon Leath and another individual to file more than 227 false income tax returns falsely claiming more than $1 million in refunds. On Nov. 3, 2015, co-conspirator Leath was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $55,635 in restitution to the IRS. White and Ware have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Stealing Tax Refunds
On Dec. 8, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Bobby Cooks, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $891,997. Between 2011 and 2014, Cooks received three United States Treasury tax refunds that were based on fraudulent tax returns filed with the IRS. The first was based on a false 2010 return filed in Cooks’ name. The second was based on a fraudulent tax return filed in another individual’s name. The third was based on a 2011 fraudulent tax return filed in the name of Cooks’ father, who had the same name as Cooks and who had been deceased since 2008.  

California Man Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns  
On Dec. 7, 2015, in Fresno, California, Mark Threet, of Modesto, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for making a false claim for a tax refund. Threet filed more than 850 false tax returns for himself and others for the tax years 2008 to 2010. Each return included false statements regarding income, tax credits, and refund amounts. In sum, the returns claimed more than $620,000 for these false tax refunds. He received approximately $270,000, and has been ordered to pay restitution.

California Resident Sentenced for Massive Identity Theft and Tax Refund Scheme
On Dec. 7, 2015, in Los Angeles, California, Sang Hwoon Shin, formerly of Monterey Park, was sentenced to 40 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $316,000 in restitution to the IRS. Over a four-year period, Shin filed bogus tax returns, each of which was filed in the name of a real person whose identity had been stolen. As a result of the false tax returns filed by Shin, the U.S. Treasury wired tax refund payments to the bank accounts opened by Shin in the names of the identity theft victims. Nearly all of the tax refund payments were in amounts between $9,000 and $10,000.  

Florida Man Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Dec. 2, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Rosheem Oneil Williams, of Miami Gardens, was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $73,210. From Jan. 17, 2015, through June 6, 2015, 187 tax returns claiming refunds totaling $363,457 were filed from Williams’ residence. Williams possessed the personal identification information (PII) of numerous other individuals which he used to prepare and file at least 180 tax returns without the permission of the individuals in whose names the returns were filed.

Minnesota Man Sentenced for Identity Theft Scheme
On Dec. 1, 2015, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ayotomide Ajifowobaje, of Bloomington, was sentenced to 110 months in prison and three years of supervised release for using the stolen identities of more than 450 victims to file false tax returns throughout the United States. Between at least May 20, 2014, and Feb. 17, 2015, Ajifowobaje purchased stolen personal identifying information (PII) of hundreds of individuals. Using this PII, Ajifowobaje and his co-conspirators “washed” stolen identities to determine whether a legitimate tax return had already been filed by the victim taxpayer. If none had already been filed in the victim’s name, Ajifowobaje would create and electronically file a fraudulent tax return using the victim’s correct identity information but containing other fraudulent information. Ajifowobaje then set up fake email addresses to track the status of the return and expected refund. To collect the refunds from the IRS, Ajifowobaje purchased hundreds of debit cards and activated them using the same stolen identities that he used to file false tax returns. Ajifowobaje and his co-conspirators filed some of the false tax returns from hotels using free Wi-Fi.

Texas Woman Sentenced in Stolen-Identity Tax Refund Case
On Nov. 24, 2015, in Dallas, Yolanda Lavell Kaiser was sentenced to 132 months in prison and ordered to pay $2,294,442 in restitution to the IRS. From approximately September 2013 through August 2014, Kaiser prepared and electronically filed fraudulent tax returns using the identifying information of actual persons, without lawful authority, to fraudulently obtain federal tax refunds. She prepared and filed tax returns through a tax preparation business known as Right 1 Tax Services. Kaiser directed those refunds be deposited on prepaid debit cards and then used the cards to made cash withdrawals from ATMs.

Florida Man Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On Nov. 24, 2015, in Tampa, Demetrius Wright was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay a money judgment of $165,317. From as early as Feb. 1, 2012, through about Dec. 19, 2014, Wright participated in a scheme to defraud the IRS. Wright’s home contained notebooks and documents with the personally identifying information (PII) of others, none of who had provided that information to him. As part of the scheme, over 500 tax returns were filed from laptops associated with Wright, requesting more than $3.6 million in fraudulent tax refunds. On Aug. 31, 2015, Donald Bethell was sentenced to four months in prison for his role in this scheme.

Ohio Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft Scheme
On Nov. 23, 2015, in Dayton, Lance Ealy was sentenced to 124 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay approximately $61,000 in restitution. Between approximately January 2013 and October 2013, Ealy engaged in a sophisticated scheme in which he electronically filed at least 150 fraudulent federal income tax returns, including returns filed using the personal information of others that he had unlawfully acquired from an illicit online source. Ealy opened dozens of bank accounts at multiple financial institutions using the names and social security numbers of other individuals – without their knowledge or permission – in order to electronically deposit the fraudulent tax refunds. Ealy specifically targeted vulnerable individuals, including the elderly and disabled.  

Alabama Woman Sentenced for Role in $20 Million Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Ring
On Nov. 23, 2015, in Montgomery, Talashia Hinton, aka “LayLay,” of Phenix City, was sentenced to 94 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $7,173,704. Hinton participated in a large-scale SIRF scheme in which participants filed more than 8,000 false tax returns for 2012 and 2013 fraudulently claiming more than $20 million in income tax refunds from the IRS. Hinton worked with Keshia Lanier, who supplied her with IRS Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) in the names of sham tax preparation businesses and stolen personal identifying information (PII). Hinton also obtained stolen PII from Tamika Floyd. Hinton used some of those names to file false returns, emailed some of the names to Lanier and delivered other names to another co-conspirator, Tracy Mitchell and her family, who used the names to file false returns. Floyd, Mitchell and Lanier were previously sentenced to 87, 159 and 180 months in prison, respectively.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On Nov. 20, 2015, Tampa, Rita Girven was sentenced to 144 months in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. From an unknown date, through at least May 2013, Girven participated in a scheme to defraud the IRS. As part of the scheme, Girven, together with others, obtained the personally identifiable information of others without their knowledge then used the information to file fraudulent federal income tax returns. Girven participated in the filing of false tax returns in the names of more than 500 victims, claiming more than $3.6 million in refunds that she shared with her co-conspirators.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Heroin, Identity Theft and Filing False Tax Return Charges
On Nov. 20, 2015, in Miami, Christopher Richard Edwards, of Wellington, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $212,936 in restitution. Edwards’ apartment contained approximately 159 access device cards in other peoples’ names, three laptop computers, an encoder/decoder, a credit card embosser, a currency counter machine and several ledgers containing personal identifying information (PII). Additionally, 66 capsules containing heroin, a digital scale, and a plate containing heroin residue were kept in the apartment. Edwards’ computer was used for substantial filings for unemployment benefits, consistent with the unemployment benefit cards in his apartment. The unemployment claims filed from Edwards’ computer in 2014 totaled $287,360. Law enforcement also determined that Edwards filed 41 federal tax returns containing false information in the names of others claiming a total of $299,240 in false tax refunds.

Ten Individuals Sentenced in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme  
From Aug 11, 2015 through Nov. 19, 2015, in Greenville, Tennessee, 10 individuals were sentenced to a range of 55 months in prison to three years of probation for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, theft of public money and money laundering conspiracy. Each defendant was ordered to pay restitution of $1,249,934, which they owe jointly. Those sentenced included: Eugene Carl Kotelman, of Burtchville, Michigan;  Jamie Marie Lowery, of Port Huron, Michigan; Brian Keith Elliott, of Greeneville, Tennessee;  Bernard Erwin Goewey, of Afton, Tennessee; Michelle Goewey, of Afton, Tennessee; Timothy Ray Groh, of Port Huron, Michigan; Jake Marshall McKelvey, of Atlanta, Michigan; Gerald Kenneth Orshal, III, of Crystal River, Florida; Amy Rose Peters Thompson, Port Huron, Michigan and Terri Lynn Worley, of Port Huron, Michigan. Between January 2008 and December 2012, these individuals conspired to obtain money from the IRS by submitting fraudulent federal income tax returns that claimed false federal income tax refunds. As part of the scheme, they submitted, or caused to be submitted, a total of 150 federal income tax returns claiming false tax refunds of $1.2 million. The false returns were filed using stolen Personal Identification Information of others that was used without the individual’s authorization.

Former Arizona Resident Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On Nov. 19, 2015, in Tucson, Arizona, April Escobedo, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $255,189 in restitution to the United States Treasury. Between January 2010, and June 2013, Escobedo filed approximately 265 false federal income tax returns claiming false refunds of approximately $472,351. In order to obtain the false tax refunds, Escobedo used the names and social security numbers of other individuals along with false wages and withholding on the false income tax returns she filed with the IRS. Escobedo deposited portions of the fraudulent proceeds in her bank account and she directed her daughters to open bank accounts to distribute other false tax refunds. The daughters, Cassandra Grijalva and Rachel Grijalva, both of Tucson, were previously sentenced to five and three years’ probation respectively.  

New York Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On Nov. 13, 2015, in Buffalo, James Chatmon was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $102,149 in restitution to the IRS and $2,939 to the NYS Department of Finance. Chatmon gathered biographical information from individuals which he used to generate false W-2 forms. The individuals used the forms to file false income tax returns. Claims for refunds and credits were made on 17 tax returns, even though the persons filing the returns were not entitled to any refunds. Proceeds totaling $105,088 were divided between Chatmon and the tax-return filers during the scheme, which took place between January 2010 and April 2013.

Virginia Man Sentenced for Identity Theft and Filing False Tax Returns
On Nov. 13, 2015, in Alexandria, Kouame Innocent Tanoh, of Ashburn, was sentenced to 54 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $671,760 in restitution and $651,769 in a forfeiture money judgment. From around April 2008 through February 2015, Tanoh obtained individuals’ names and personal identifying information (PII). Tanoh acquired some of this information by holding himself out as being a legitimate tax return preparer through a Virginia company called Alpha and Omega Financial Services. Tanoh then used their names and PII for several different purposes, including the preparation and filing of fraudulent federal and state tax returns that made false claims for tax refunds. The actual loss to the IRS and state departments of revenue as a result of the returns prepared and filed by Tanoh was over $650,000.

Tax Preparer Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On Nov. 13, 2015, in Alexandria, Virginia, Emranur Kabir, aka Emran Kabir, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $89,365 in restitution. Kabir was the owner and operator of Gannet Financials, America Properties, Inc. and Dependable Tax Services, Inc. From about 2011 through about 2013, Kabir prepared and filed false and fraudulent tax returns for clients using his tax preparation services, without their knowledge and permission. Kabir modified their returns to include false information and deductions. Rather than disbursing the tax refunds associated with the fraudulent returns to the client, Kabir took a significant portion of the income tax refund and used it for his own benefit.

Eight Sentenced in Massive Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Nov. 4, 2015, in Houston, Texas, eight defendants were sentenced after pleading guilty for their roles in a stolen identity and fraudulent tax return scheme. Travis White, Jalan Willingham and U.S. postal carrier Calvin Shelton, all of Atlanta, Georgia were sentenced to 224, 132 and 57 months in prison, respectively, for conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Postal carriers Edward Dwayne Vallier, of Houston, Shawn Phillip Thornton, of Atlanta, and Tangela R. Jackson-Lezeau, of Port Saint Lucie, Florida, were sentenced to  27, 45 and 46 months in prison, respectively, for mail fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Kerry Lionel Ruffin, and Rance Hunter, both of Atlanta, were sentenced to 50 and 84 months in prison respectively. All the defendants will serve three years of supervised release. In addition, the defendants were ordered to pay restitution totaling $7,845,652, with each paying varying amounts in accordance with their roles in the scheme. A ninth defendant, Dwayne Biggs, also pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing. From 2010 through 2014, the co-conspirators used stolen personal identifying information to file thousands of fraudulent tax returns claiming more than $12 million in refunds.

North Carolina Woman Sentenced For Tax Fraud
On Nov. 4, 2015, in Raleigh, North Carolina, Kimberly Nicole Torres, of Wendell, was sentenced to 52 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $104,624 in restitution. On April 16, 2015, Torres pleaded guilty to false, fictitious and fraudulent claim for refund. Torres used the identities of others, often without their knowledge, to prepare and file fraudulent tax returns.

Former Jail Contract Employee Sentenced for Identity Theft and Tax Refund Fraud
On Nov. 3, 2015, in Orlando, Florida, Lori Ann Dilworth was sentenced to 25 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $52,105 in restitution. Dilworth pleaded guilty to conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS and aggravated identity theft on Aug. 4, 2015. Dilworth worked at the Orange County Jail as a contract employee in the inmate records section. She stole the personal identification information of 36 inmates from the jail and provided that information to Shantrell Sharae Stephenson and other co-conspirators to use to file false tax returns. Another conspirator, Richard Damarick Mitchell, served as an intermediary between Dilworth and Stephenson. Fraudulent tax returns were filed with the IRS requesting more than $100,000 in refunds as part of the conspiracy. Mitchell was previously sentenced to 39 months in prison for his part in the conspiracy. Stephenson has pleaded guilty and her sentencing is scheduled for December.

Former Oregon Resident Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On Nov. 3, 2015, in Portland, Oregon, Brandon Leath was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $55,635 in restitution to the IRS. Leath pleaded guilty on July 23 to conspiracy to file false claims and theft of government funds. Leath conspired with others, including his wife, Shawntina Ware, to file more than 227 false income tax returns that fraudulently claimed more than $1 million in refunds. The co-conspirators often shared the fraudulent refunds with each other by splitting the refund into multiple bank accounts controlled by the co-conspirators or their family and friends. Three of Leath’s co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to various charges and are awaiting sentencing.  

California Resident Sentenced in False Tax Refund Scheme
On Nov. 2, 2015, in Oakland, California, Kenneth Brown was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $167,152 in restitution. Brown pleaded guilty on July 23, 2015, to conspiracy to file false claims. From April 2009 through June 2011, Brown conspired with his daughter, Kenya Brown, to file false federal income tax returns with the IRS. The false tax returns that were filed contained fictitious W-2 forms requesting refunds based on the fictitious W-2s. To carry out the scheme, the defendants asked the IRS to wire the fraudulent tax refunds onto pre-paid debit cards or bank accounts they controlled. The defendants also directed that pre-paid debit cards associated with the fraudulent refunds be sent to addresses where they could access the mail.

Three Floridians Sentenced In Tax Refund Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme
On Nov. 2, 2015, in Panama City, Florida, Jermaine Winters, Senora Cotton and Rosetta Presley were each sentenced for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with the electronic filing of false federal income tax returns. Winters was sentenced to 108 months in prison, Cotton to 24 months and one day in prison, and Presley to two days in prison and five years’ probation. The three were also ordered to pay $195,547 in restitution to the IRS. Winters and Presley pleaded guilty on April 16, 2015, and Cotton pleaded guilty on Aug. 3, 2015. Between July 2011 and July 2012, the defendants conspired to file fraudulent tax returns using the stolen identities of assisted-living residents, clinical laboratory patients and others. The conspirators attempted to steal more than $276,000 from the United States Treasury through the fraud scheme. The refunds issued on the fraudulent returns were loaded onto prepaid debit cards and mailed to addresses in Florida.

Rhode Island Businessman Sentenced in Multi-Million Dollar Tax Refund Scheme
On Oct. 28, 2015, Providence, Rhode Island, Anthony DelFarno, of East Greenwich, was sentenced to 65 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $1.4 million. DelFarno pleaded guilty on June 16, 2015, to mail fraud, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. DelFarno filed 28 false individual income tax returns in his own name and in the names of others without their knowledge, seeking refunds totaling $1.1 million dollars. Additionally, DelFarno filed 30 fraudulent corporate income tax returns, claiming refunds of $2.4 million dollars. Delfarno formed the corporations in order to execute the tax fraud scheme.

Louisiana Men Sentenced for Involvement in Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 27, 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Brad Lewis, aka ‘Bird’, of Tangipahoa Parish, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,136,966 in restitution to the IRS. On Oct. 23, 2015, Martin Jackson Sr., also of Tangipahoa Parish, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and three years of supervised release for his involvement in the scheme. Restitution owed by Jackson will be determined at a later date. Both men previously pleaded guilty to a multi-object conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and theft of public money. Lewis and Jackson, as well as their co-defendants, conspired to prepare and file false income tax returns using stolen identities to claim large tax refunds. The refund checks were mailed to addresses, including post office boxes that were opened by the conspirators. Once the checks were received, the conspirators deposited the refund checks then divided the proceeds amongst themselves. Five co-conspirators have received sentences ranging from three years of probation to 75 months in prison.

Former Assistant Band Director Sentenced for Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 23, 2015, Miami, Florida, Delvis Demaine Rogers, of Hollywood, a former assistant band director, was sentenced to 61 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $129,321. Rogers previously pleaded guilty to possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft. From Jan. 25, 2014 to April 20, 2014, 419 suspicious tax returns claiming refunds totaling $754,470 were filed from Rogers’ residential address. Rogers’ residence contained papers, notes, and documents containing thousands of personal identifying information, including records of more than a dozen Broward County School District students. Rogers prepared and filed hundreds of fraudulent tax returns without the permission of the people in whose names they were filed. Rogers electronically submitted the filings from his apartment.  

Florida Resident Sentenced for Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 23, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Keyiona Marvette Wright, of Plantation, was sentenced to 84 months in prison and three years of supervised release for an identity theft fraud scheme involving 734 unauthorized tax returns. Wright previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. From March 25, 2014 to May 6, 2015, 46 federal tax returns were filed claiming refunds of $135,196 from an IP address assigned to an apartment rented by Wright. From Sept. 16, 2014 to May 5, 2015, at least 688 rejected federal tax returns, claiming refunds of $733,276, were electronically transmitted to the IRS from the same IP address. Wright’s residence contained documents, computers, and debit/credit cards containing identifying or account information for over 14,000 individuals.

Alabama Man Sentenced For Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On Oct. 22, 2015, in Montgomery, Alabama, Jerome Marcel Newton, of Montgomery County, was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $147,102 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. Newton previously pleaded guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. Newton obtained the personal identifying information (PII) of others by using other individuals to collect identities, recruiting people to provide their identities and other means. Although Newton resided in Alabama, a number of the identities belonged to people living in Pittsburgh. Newton also obtained the PII of prison inmates. Newton used the PII to file fraudulent tax returns, directing the refunds claimed on those returns into bank accounts or onto prepaid debit cards. Some of the prepaid debit cards were then mailed to addresses within Alabama.  

Former College Student Sentenced for Role in a Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 19, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Jonathan Joseph, of Miami-Dade County, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $30,967. Joseph previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and aggravated identity theft. Joseph was a student at Miami Dade College and opened a bank account serviced by Higher One, Inc. (HOI), which provides financial services to colleges and universities. Joseph and others submitted 22 fraudulent tax returns claiming $104,260 in tax refunds and directed these refunds be deposited into Joseph’s HOI account, of which Joseph received $11,320. They also submitted 16 fraudulent tax returns claiming $75,527 in tax refunds and directed these refunds be deposited into another individual’s HOI account. From July to September 2012, Joseph’s HOI account also received over $15,000 in proceeds from stolen tax refunds from the other individual’s HOI account.

Alabama Woman Sentenced for Involvement in SIRF Ring
On Oct. 15, 2015, in Montgomery, Teresa Floyd, of Phenix City, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $734,565 in restitution to the IRS. Floyd pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims and aggravated identity theft. Floyd’s daughter, and co-conspirator, Lasondra Miles Davis, was sentenced on Sept. 1, 2015, to 24 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,941 in restitution to the IRS. Between March 2011 and May 2014, Floyd and Davis operated several tax preparation businesses. Floyd obtained stolen identities that she and her co-conspirators then used to file more than 900 false federal income tax returns that claimed more than $2.5 million in tax refunds. Floyd, Davis and others caused the fraudulently obtained refund checks to be cashed at several businesses in Alabama and Georgia.

West Virginia Man Sentenced for Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns
On Oct. 14, 2015, in Charleston, West Virginia, Michael Jarrell, of Hurricane, was sentenced to 19 months in prison and ordered to pay $67,968 in restitution to the IRS. Jarrell pleaded guilty on July 8, 2015 to filing a false tax return in the name of a family member without authorization. Jarrell filed false tax returns from 2007 through 2011 in the names of 11 other relatives, neighbors and friends without their authorization. In total, Jarrell filed 12 false tax returns, seeking tax refunds of nearly $120,000.

Iowa Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft
On Oct. 14, 2015, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gwendolyn Murray was sentenced to 61 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $386,515 in restitution. Murray pleaded guilty on June 8, 2015 to theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. Murray filed more than 150 fraudulent tax returns over a three year period and stole the identity of a woman to file a fraudulent tax return. Her criminal activity resulted in the IRS paying out more than $350,000 in fraudulent tax refunds to her.

Maryland Man Sentenced For Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme  
On Oct. 7, 2015, in Greenbelt, Maryland, Norman D. West, of Hyattsville, and Washington, District of Columbia, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $408,221. West was sentenced for theft of public money in connection with a fraudulent tax refund scheme. West is a musician and operated a tax preparation business known as “Flash Cash Financial,” or “Flash Cash.” From August 2011 through January 2013, West and his co-conspirators obtained the personal information of “recruits” which West used to file false tax returns. West filed 197 federal tax returns that claimed $391,553 in fraudulent tax refunds.  In addition, West filed 28 fraudulent returns with the District of Columbia, which generated an additional $16,668 in fraudulent refunds.  

Maryland Man Sentenced for Role in Massive Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 7, 2015, in Baltimore, Maryland, Alvalonzo Graham, of Capitol Heights, was sentenced to 46 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $424,017 in restitution to the IRS. On March 18, 2014, Graham pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States through the filing of false income tax returns. Graham participated in a massive and sophisticated identity theft and false tax refund scheme that, overall, involved an extensive network of more than 130 people, at least 12,000 fraudulent federal income tax returns using stolen identifying information that sought refunds of at least $40 million from the U.S. Treasury. The refunds were sought for tax years 2005 through 2012, often in the names of people whose identities had been stolen. From January 2011 through July 2012, Graham prepared and mailed fraudulent federal income tax returns, deposited the fraudulently-obtained tax refund checks into his own bank account and recruited, coordinated, directed and compensated others in the execution of the scheme. Graham’s actions and those of the people he directed and paid resulted in the filing of approximately 492 fraudulent income tax returns claiming $2,552,740 in refunds. He maintained a bank account into which he deposited approximately 97 fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury checks that totaled approximately $424,017. Graham kept portions of these fraudulently obtained refunds.

Louisiana Resident Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 6, 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Thaddeus Richardson, of Hammond, was sentenced to 51 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a later date. Richardson pleaded guilty on July 2, 2015, to seven counts of theft of public money, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one count of a dual-object conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit mail fraud and theft of public money. Richardson 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. Richardson and his co-defendants falsely endorsed and deposited the refund checks into bank accounts under their control. The co-conspirators divided the proceeds of the refund checks amongst themselves. Co-defendants, Cedrick Mitchell and Corey Lewis were previously sentenced to 33 months and 75 months in prison, respectively. The other defendants in this case have pleaded guilty to various charges and are awaiting sentencing.

Florida Residents Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 6, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Curtis Joseph, aka “CJ”, was sentenced to 13 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $15,224 to the IRS. Joseph previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. Joseph’s co-conspirator, Joshua Chikudo, was sentenced on October 1, to 44 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Chikudo previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. Joseph and Chikudo participated in an identity theft tax fraud scheme using deceased and other individuals’ personal identifying information (PII). Between April and August of 2013, Joseph and Chikudo filed 32 fraudulent federal income tax returns to request refunds totaling $197,688.  Twenty-one of the returns were joint returns that included the PII of deceased individuals.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Massive Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 5, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Benoit Placide, a/k/a “Snow,” and “Mario,” of West Palm Beach, was sentenced to 120 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $742,955. Placide was previously convicted of conspiracy to receive, conceal or retain monies stolen from the United States, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Placide participated in an identity theft fraud scheme along with co-conspirators Lukner Blanc and Jean Juste, among others. The co-conspirators attempted to obtain more than $1,200,000 in unauthorized income tax refunds. They received more than $700,000 in fraudulent tax refund payments, which were sent to bank accounts and pre-paid debit cards they controlled. After the fraudulent refunds were sent by wire transfer to the bank accounts and debit cards, the co-conspirators withdrew the funds at automatic teller machines (ATMs) and point of sale electronic terminals. Blanc has been convicted for his part in the scheme and his sentencing has been scheduled. On Feb. 17, 2015, Juste was sentenced to 84 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $668,947. Others have been previously sentenced for their roles in the scheme including:
• Shelda Phadel was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $13,327.
• Marie Claude and Marie Demesyeux, were both sentenced to time served.
• Frank Fleuzinord is a fugitive.

Mississippi Residents Sentenced for Stolen Identify Tax Refund Fraud
On Oct. 2, 2015, in Jackson, Mississippi, Joyce Knight, of Meridian, was sentenced to 26 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Co-defendant, Daniel Kelley, was sentenced on Sept. 28, 2015, to 72 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Both defendants were ordered to jointly pay restitution of $51,992 to the IRS. Knight and Kelly were sentenced for conspiracy to steal identities of state inmates and to use those stolen identities to file false federal income tax returns. Kelley, while incarcerated in several different state prisons, stole the identities of fellow inmates and gave them to Knight, who submitted false federal tax returns to the IRS. Knight cashed the refund checks a gas station and transfer the stolen funds back to Kelley by loading the money onto "Green Dot" stored value cards. Knight gave Kelley with the account numbers of the "Green Dot" cards, and Kelley used the funds for his benefit while in prison. Kelley and Knight were able to communicate with each other via cell phones that Kelley obtained while he was in prison. The false tax returns claimed $127,000 in refunds. The defendants actually received about $51,992.

Operator of Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme Sentenced
On Oct. 2, 2015, in San Francisco, California, Duffy R. Dashner, aka Kevin Dashner, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, three years supervised release and ordered to pay $1,769,418 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). On June 18, 2015 Dashner pleaded guilty to conspiracy to submit false claims. Dashner and his co-conspirators, including Mark R. Maness, operated a business called O.I.D. Process through which they helped others to prepare and file individual federal income tax returns that claimed false Original Issue Discount (OID) interest income and federal tax withholdings, resulting in fraudulent claims for tax refunds (OID returns). Dashner and Maness charged clients of O.I.D. Process a non-refundable registration fee to join the organization, and a 20 percent “refund acquisition fee” for any refund check issued by the IRS. Dashner and Maness also operated a website and conducted weekly conference calls with clients to promote their business and to assist clients in preparing and filing OID returns. Dashner and Maness required clients of O.I.D. Process to change their mailing address with the IRS to the address of another co-conspirator who was an attorney in San Francisco. As a result, all correspondence from the IRS to the clients and the clients’ O.I.D. refund checks were sent to the attorney’s address rather than the clients’ home addresses. In this way, Dashner and Maness ensured they would receive a 20 percent refund acquisition fee. O.I.D. Process’s clients filed approximately 200 OID returns claiming refunds that totaled approximately $228 million. Maness, was sentenced in February 2015 to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,176,668 in restitution to the IRS.

Missouri Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 1, 2015, in Kansas City, Missouri, Demichael A. Johnson, of Kansas City, was sentenced to 24 months in prison. The sentence will run consecutively to the seven-year sentence Johnson is currently serving for drug trafficking. Johnson was also ordered to pay $67,281 in restitution to the government. On June 3, 2015, Johnson pleaded guilty to making a false claim. Co-defendant Mika Francis, of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, pleaded guilty to the same offense and is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date. Johnson and Francis, along with others, participated in a scheme using false IRS Form W-2s. They solicited friends and acquaintances to file their tax returns using false W-2 information. These “taxpayers” had little to no legitimate income and would not otherwise have to file tax returns. The scheme resulted in a total actual loss to the government of $329,000. Johnson admitted that he caused a tax return to be filed in his name for tax year 2010 that claimed a refund of $13,184. Johnson claimed income that he did not actually receive and falsely claimed two dependents. The government has evidence of seven other instances of Johnson’s involvement in false claims, with a total criminal tax loss of $75,928. Francis admitted that she caused a tax return to be filed in her name for the tax year 2010 that claimed a refund of $8,048. Francis falsely claimed income that she did not receive.
 

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