Examples of Identity Theft Investigations – Fiscal Year 2016

ERAD AdminPayment Card Fraud

IRS, Last Updated August 3, 2017

The following examples of Identity Theft 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, 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. 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 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. On Jan. 13, 2016, agents executed a search warrant at Jordan’s residence and found personal identifying information of at least 100 individuals.

State Inmate Receives Additional Sentence for Tax Fraud Ring
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. 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.

Seven Defendants Sentenced in Extensive Drug Trafficking and Identity Theft Schemes
Between May 16 and Aug. 15, 2016, in Miami, Florida, seven defendants were sentenced for their participation in extensive identity theft and drug trafficking schemes. Sentenced were:
• Odenia Samson, a/k/a “Pimp” – 122 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
• Eddie Elistin, a/k/a “Horse,” a/k/a “Edith Elistin” – 72 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
• Ensi Prudent, a/k/a “Chuck” – 66 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
• Michael Descolline, a/k/a “Fat Mike” – 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
• Saintana Daniel – 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
• Ingrinesia Mathis, a/k/a “Bri” – a year and a day in prison and three years of supervised release.
During the execution of search warrants, law enforcement agents discovered more than 3,000 individual victims’ personal identification information (PII) at residences where Samson, Mathis, Elistin, and Descolline lived. Law enforcement agents also intercepted calls where Elistin and Samson discussed using the PII of victims and incarcerated individuals to receive fraudulent tax refunds.

Six Tax Return Preparers Sentenced for Identity Theft, Filing False Tax Returns
Between July 20 and Aug. 8, 2016, 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 were:
• 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 Scheme
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.

Florida Resident Sentenced in Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme Involving More Than $1 Million in Tax Refunds
On July 11, 2016, in Miami, Florida, Yasmany Lopez, of Miami-Dade County, was sentenced to 44 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $973,379 in restitution. In early 2012, individuals in Colombia negotiated with a confidential source (CS) to rent an airplane that would be used to transport controlled substances from Colombia to Honduras. The CS received an initial payment of $170,000 and Lopez contacted the CS to arrange delivery of the remaining $330,000. After Lopez met with the CS, officers stopped Lopez in his car. Lopez gave consent to search the vehicle, and the officers located two boxes containing $330,000 in cash, approximately 197 Turbo Tax debit cards and 1,035 Green Dot debit cards each bearing different individual’s names, mail addressed to several different individuals and ATM receipts. A search of Lopez’s residence, found an additional 56 debit cards and numerous Turbo Tax mailing envelopes and cardholder agreements. The 245 Turbo Tax cards found between Lopez’s car and residence had been loaded with approximately $1,071,188 in federal income tax refunds. The tax returns associated with fifteen of the seized debit cards named individuals who were residents of Puerto Rico, and these individuals did not authorize anyone to file these tax returns or to use their personal information. Lopez removed cash from the debit cards at ATMs in exchange for a 2% commission. He also recruited individuals who allowed Lopez to use their mailing addresses to receive the debit cards, in exchange for $100 per card. A portion of the $330,000 he was to deliver to the CS came from the debit cards in his possession.

Virginia Man Sentenced for Role in Massive Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Scheme 
On July 6, 2016, in Washington, D.C., 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.

Florida Couple Sentenced for Involvement in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On June 16, 2016, in Miami, Florida, Rhonda Peggy Gittens, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, was sentenced to 75 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay, joint and several, $792,442 in restitution to the IRS for her role in a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme. Gittens and her co-conspirator, Walther Wilson Godfrey, both pleaded guilty in January to one count of a multi-object conspiracy to defraud the United States, commit wire fraud and commit aggravated identity theft, one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of access device fraud. Godfrey was sentenced on April 15, 2016 to 75 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Between July 2009 and August 2014, Godfrey, Gittens and others conspired to defraud the United States by filing false federal income tax returns using stolen identities. Gittens owned and operated 2G, Inc., a tax return preparation business, and G&G Check Cashing Inc., a check cashing business, both of which were located in Pembroke Pines.  Godfrey and Gittens obtained the personal identification information (PII) of some live persons and some deceased, without the individuals’ authorization, to prepare and file false income tax refund claims for the years 2009 through 2011. Godfrey and Gittens recruited a co-conspirator, Marc Brown, to put Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) in his name through which fraudulent income tax returns would be filed. In addition, Godfrey and Gittens directed Brown to set up companies and bank accounts in his name to negotiate the fraudulently obtained income tax refund checks.  Godfrey and Gittens filed more than 700 fraudulent tax returns requesting more than $1.5 million in income tax refunds. Brown was sentenced to prison in January 2016 for his role in the scheme. In addition, Godfrey and Gittens possessed device-making equipment including an identification card printer, a credit card embosser, hologram stickers for driver’s licenses and credit cards and blank credit cards.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Two Brothers Sentenced for Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns Seeking Refunds of Over $224 Million
On May 17, 2016, in Greenbelt, Maryland, Sean Aude Gallman, of Upper Marlboro, and his brother, Eric Maurice Gallman, of Huntersville, North Carolina, were sentenced to 132 months and 48 months in prison, respectively. Sean and Eric Gallman were also each sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution to the IRS of $16,512,492. Additionally, the brothers will forfeit the amount of the refunds paid by the IRS, including $11,529,954 seized from numerous bank accounts; foreign currency and gold and silver coins seized from a residence in Upper Marlboro; nine residential properties and three vehicles. The Gallmans established trusts and business entities and used mailboxes at numerous private commercial postal carrier stores in Maryland and North Carolina as the addresses for the trusts and business entities. The Gallman brothers, acting as trustees and agents, mailed fraudulent tax returns to the IRS in the names of the trusts and businesses requesting refunds. Altogether, the Gallman brothers filed a total of approximately 46 fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds totaling $224,676,998, for which the IRS paid two refunds totaling $16,512,492.

Florida Brothers Sentenced for Participation in Identity Theft Scheme
On May 12, 2016, in Miami, Florida, brothers Bechir Delva and Dan Kenny Delva, both of Miramar, were sentenced to 102 months and 84 months in prison, respectively. Both were also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $186,697 in restitution. The brothers possess debit cards and over 1,600 social security numbers issued to others. Eight victims testified that they neither knew the defendants nor authorized them to possess their social security numbers and other personal information.

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.

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.

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.

Florida Man Sentenced for Theft of Government Money and Aggravated Identity Theft
On April 26, 2016, in Fort Myers, Florida, George Joyner III was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $169,456. On Aug. 10, 2013, Joyner was arrested for a vehicular violation. When Joyner’s vehicle was searched, law enforcement discovered a laptop, other electronic media and papers listing the personally identifiable information (PII) of others, including a spreadsheet with the PII of 163 individuals. In addition, Joyner had opened two bank accounts into which he deposited 22 U.S. Treasury tax refund checks totaling $169,456 in a three month period.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Participation in a Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
On April 26, 2016, in Miami, Florida, Sean Lyons, of Plantation, was sentenced to 34 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $79,459. In May 2014, Lyons participated in a tax fraud scheme in which he received fraudulently obtained United States Department of Treasury tax refunds in accounts linked to prepaid debit cards over which he had control. The tax refunds were filed in the names of other individuals, and the prepaid debit card accounts were registered using the names and social security numbers of those same individuals, without their knowledge and authority.

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.

Missouri Musician Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme
On April 21, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri, Olufunsho Adeshina, a native of Nigeria residing in St. Louis, was sentenced to 40 months in prison and ordered to pay $753,063 in restitution to the IRS. Adeshina received $753,063 from more than 50 tax refunds by filing false tax returns in the name of various individuals. The refunds were sent to different financial accounts: some in his name, some in the names of businesses he controlled and some were in the names of identity theft victims whose information he used to establish additional accounts. Adeshina sought more than $3.5 million dollars in refunds but most of the false returns were caught and not honored by the IRS.

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.

Former Louisiana Public Health Care Employee Sentenced for Participating in Tax Refund Scheme
On April 6, 2016, in Lafayette, Tasha Thomas was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $464,765 in restitution to the IRS. Thomas worked for a health unit where she stole personal identifying information (PII) of patients and sold the PII to Mona Hill. Hill used the stolen PII to prepare and file false tax returns. Between January and August of 2012, she also sold more than 400 access devices to Hill. In 2014, Hill was sentenced to 65 months in prison and ordered to pay $491,268 in restitution to the IRS.

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.

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.

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.

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.

North Carolina Tax Preparer 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.

Former U.S. Postal Worker Sentenced for Role in Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Ring
On Feb. 24, 2016, in Montgomery, Alabama, Elizabeth Grant, aka Elizabeth Williams Grant and Ann Grant, of Seale, was sentenced to 70 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $978,469 to the IRS. Between June 2012 and December 2013, Grant conspired with others, including Tracy Mitchell and Keshia Lanier, to obtain fraudulent income tax refunds by filing false federal income tax returns using stolen identities. For a fee, Grant provided co-conspirators with addresses along her mail delivery route to use in filing false tax returns. Grant then retrieved the fraudulent tax refund checks from the mail and delivered the checks to her co-conspirators. The scheme resulted in the filing of more than 700 false returns claiming more than $1.5 million in tax refunds. So far, more than nine individuals have received sentences ranging from 180 months to probation for their participation in the scheme.

Alabama Tax Preparer Sentenced for Involvement in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
On Feb. 24, 2016, in Montgomery, Alabama, 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. Smith pleaded guilty in November 2015 to conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to filing false income tax refund claims and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, 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 for conspiracy to file false federal tax returns and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $19,944 and three years of supervised release. Other co-defendants, Cassandra Tompkins, of Oakland, Cordia Spearman, of Vacaville; and Damien Mitchell, of El Sobrante were also sentenced for conspiracy to file false federal tax returns. Keith admitted that between Jan. 15, 2011, and May 15, 2012, she, along with Tompkins, Spearman and Mitchell, obtained the names and social security numbers of other individuals and used the information to prepare false federal income tax returns. Keith acknowledged that defendants filed a total of 219 false federal income tax returns with the IRS. Defendants claimed over $678,000 in tax refunds of which $287,498 was paid by the IRS.

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.

Tax Preparer Sentenced For Filing False Tax Returns, Identity Theft
On Jan. 26, 2016, in Kansas City, Kansas, Prayshana Washington, of Kansas City, was sentenced to 37 months in prison for filing false tax returns using the names of prison inmates and others. Washington admitted that, from 2012 to 2015, she was in the business of preparing individual income tax returns for clients who paid between $500 and $1,000 for her services. She filed tax returns that containing false claims about dependents, household help income, education credits and American Opportunity Credits. She directed the IRS to deposit fraudulent returns onto prepaid debit cards and mail them to addresses she controlled. In addition she obtained names, dates of birth and social security numbers for prison inmates and prepared fraudulent income tax returns in their names.

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.

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.

Georgia Man Sentenced for Stolen Treasury Check Scheme
On Jan. 15, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia, Marvious D. Hester was sentenced to 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $752,744.  In approximately 2011, Hester met Rasheda D. Thomas, who operated a tax preparation business that she used to file fraudulent tax returns. Hester convinced Thomas to abandon her tax preparation business and, instead, use her business bank account to deposit stolen U.S. Treasury checks that Hester obtained. Together, Hester and Thomas deposited over $750,000 in stolen U.S. Treasury checks into various bank accounts. Thomas pleaded guilty on April 28, 2014. Thomas was sentenced on July 28, 2014 to 57 months in prison, three years supervised release and was ordered to pay $686,886 in restitution.

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 Filing False Tax Returns and Aggravated Identity Theft
On Jan. 12, 2016, in Fort Myers, Florida, Stafford Kelly was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $98,065. Between February and May 2013, Kelly, working with others, filed approximately 80 false income tax returns requesting $288,021 from the IRS. These returns were filed using stolen identities and personal identifying information belonging to others.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
On Jan. 11, 2016, in Orlando, Florida, Shantrell Sharae Stephenson was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $92,532 for her role in a stolen identity refund fraud. Co-conspirator Lori Ann Dilworth, a contract employee who worked in the inmate records section at the Orange County Jail, stole the personal identification information of 36 inmates and provided that information to Stephenson and others to use to file false tax returns. Another co-conspirator, Richard Damarick Mitchell, served as an intermediary between Dilworth and Stephenson. In total, more than $100,000 in fraudulent tax returns was filed with the IRS as part of the conspiracy. Co-conspirators Lori Ann Dilworth and Richard Damarick Mitchell were previously sentenced to 25 months in prison and 42 months in prison, respectively.

Florida Resident Sentenced for Supplying Personal Identifying Information in a Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
On Jan. 11, 2016, in Miami, Florida, Bryan Sainte-Rose, of Plantation, was sentenced to 54 months in prison and three years supervised release for supplying personal identifying information (PII) to other individuals who were involved in a stolen identity tax fraud scheme. An Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) was used to file 345 tax returns from Jan. 23, 2014 through Feb. 26, 2014 from an address in North Miami, Florida, requesting approximately $1,151,482 in tax refunds.

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.

Floridian Sentenced for Role in Massive Identity Theft Refund Fraud Scheme
On Jan. 6, 2016 in West Palm Beach, Florida, Lukner Blanc, was sentenced to 192 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution of $733,563. Blanc was convicted of conspiracy to receive, conceal or retain monies stolen from the United States, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Blanc and his co-conspirators attempted to obtain more than $1.2 million 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. Co-conspirators previously sentenced were Benoit Placide, a/k/a “Snow,” and “Mario,” of West Palm Beach, who was sentenced to 120 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $742,955. Jean Juste was sentenced to 84 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $668,947. 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.

Ohio Women Sentenced for Stealing Identities and Filing False Tax Returns
On Jan. 6, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio, Michelle D. Pugh, a/k/a Michelle Morman, and Joi C. Tate, were sentenced to 48 months in prison and 32 months in prison respectively. Both were ordered to pay $326,265 in restitution. Pugh, Tate and others engaged in a scheme in which they prepared at least 25 false income tax returns for the years 2010 and 2011, for approximately 20 people. They gathered personal identifying information by posing as legitimate tax preparers working through Pugh’s company, MP Tax Services, or through a network of associates. In some cases, Pugh and Tate obtained and used personal identification information of individuals without their knowledge of consent. Only a portion of the refund, if any, was paid to the taxpayer.

Man Sentenced for Tax and Bank Fraud Conspiracies
On Jan. 6, 2016, in Wilmington, Delaware, Victor Kwabenda Adofo Asante, aka Victor Asante, formerly of Newark, was sentenced to 39 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $259,342. Asante and others used stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS. Some of the personal information was stolen from patients of a neuro-rehabilitation center. Asante also participated in bank fraud activities using the stolen identities. Co-conspirators James Ekeke, of Smyrna, Georgia, and Festus Frimpong, of Newark, were sentenced to 54 months in prison and 46 months in prison, respectively. Another co-conspirator, Natasha Pollard, awaits sentencing.  A fourth co-conspirator, Amaserwaah Asante, awaits trial.

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 used the PII to prepare and file 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-defendant 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. The trio prepared 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.

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.

Florida Resident Sentenced In Identity Theft Fraud Scheme
On Dec. 1, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Randy Normul Pierre was sentenced to 66 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Pierre previously pleaded guilty to possession of device-making equipment and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Pierre’s home contained device-making equipment and the social security numbers of more than 15 persons. In addition, the home contained a fake driver’s license with Pierre’s photograph, but in the name of another individual, and a credit or debit card in the name of the other individual.

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.

Alabama Man Sentenced for Identity Theft and Stealing U.S. Treasury Checks
On Nov. 20, 2015, in Birmingham, Craig Montrail Eatmon, of Irondale, was sentenced to 84 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.02 million in restitution and forfeit $442,127. Eatmon has two prior convictions for bank fraud, unauthorized use of an access device and fraud with identification documents. Eatmon was the sole signatory on bank accounts for Executive Investors Group. Between May 2011 and July 2012, about $1.7 million in U.S. Treasury checks were deposited into the EIG accounts. The bank seized $633,573 of that money in October 2011 and returned it to the Treasury. The deposited checks were a combination of tax refund checks issued as a result of false federal income tax returns that had been filed, or legitimate but stolen refund checks. Eatmon also sold two treasury checks that were made payable to individuals other than Eatmon. Eatmon obtained a $151,000 tax refund check made payable to a South Florida resident. He enlisted the help of a bank employee to open an account in the name of an existing bank customer whose last name matched the name on the check. Eatmon had the check deposited into the new account and, after it cleared, had $87,240 withdrawn from the account.

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.

Texas Woman Sentenced for Payroll Fraud and Tax Fraud
On Nov. 19, 2015, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Sandra Saldana, of Dallas, Texas, was sentenced to 124 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $526,667 in restitution to 11 payroll companies and the IRS. From around January 2013 through February 2015, Saldana contacted payroll companies falsely claiming she was the office manager for a former employer and wanting to set up payroll services to pay her employees. Saldana provided a payroll company with fraudulent payroll information, including a list of bogus employees, and a victim’s bank account number from which payroll funds would be transferred. Based on the misrepresentations, the payroll company transferred money to bank accounts under Saldana’s control. Saldana later used these proceeds for her personal benefit. In addition, Saldana used a victim’s personal information without permission to file a false federal income tax return. Saldana directed the IRS to deposit the falsely claimed refund of $3,344 to an account that Saldana had set up in the victim’s name. Saldana had filed or attempted to file 136 false federal income tax returns for tax years 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Leader of Florida-Based Crack Cocaine Trafficking and Identity Theft Tax Fraud Organization Sentenced
On Nov. 18, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Espere Desmond Pierre was sentenced to 264 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution $800,059 jointly with co-defendant Markentz Blanc. Pierre and Blanc, also of Miami, conspired as supervisors and directors of a drug-trafficking organization that distributed cocaine base. Pierre and Blanc also conspired to obtain personal identifying information then used the unauthorized information to submit fraudulent tax returns in order to claim income tax refunds to which they were not entitled. Blanc and another co-defendant, Willis Maxi, of Miami, were sentenced to 300 and 312 months’ imprisonment, respectively. Five additional co-defendants – including Meluin Jermaine Braynen, Wisvelt Voltaire, Alex Bermudez, Sanders Bermudez, and Kervens Lalanne, all of Miami, were previously sentenced to prison terms ranging from 18 to 188 months.

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.

Orlando Man Sentenced For Stolen Identity Refund Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
On Nov. 6, 2015, in Orlando, Florida, Michael Carvalho was sentenced to 65 months in prison for theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. He was also ordered to pay a money judgment in the amount of $2,223,083, representing the amount of illicit proceeds gained from the theft, and forfeit the contents of three JPMorgan Chase accounts and real properties in Orlando and Geneva, Florida. From approximately October 2011 through September 2013, Carvalho passed or attempted to pass more than 441 federal tax refund checks in excess of $2.9 million at six banks in Florida. The checks were fraudulently obtained and/or contained falsely made or forged endorsements or signatures. Along with others, Carvalho deposited these instruments on 180 different days, over a two-year period. The loss suffered by the government was $2,223,083.

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.

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 U.S. Treasury through the fraud scheme. The refunds issued on the fraudulent returns were loaded onto prepaid debit cards and mailed to addresses in Florida.

Massachusetts Semi-Pro Football Player Sentenced for Tax Refund Fraud
On Oct. 30, 2015, in Boston, Jose Manuel Abreu-Elicier, was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison, 24 months of supervised release and ordered to pay $993,158 in restitution. In June 2015, Abreu-Elicier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to convert public money for his role in carrying out a stolen identity refund fraud scheme that resulted in an almost $1 million loss to the federal government. Abrueu-Elicier was a member of the Worcester Wildcats semi-professional football team. Between November 2011 and November 2012, Abreu-Elicier and other co-conspirators fraudulently obtained and cashed federal income tax refund checks issued in the names of unsuspecting identity theft victims. Over the course of the entire scheme, Abreu-Elicier and his co-conspirators cashed 138 fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury checks worth $993,158.

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.

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.

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 Man Sentenced for Identity Theft Scheme Involving Income Tax, Unemployment, and Credit Card Frauds
On Oct. 22, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Leonce V. Jeudy, of Plantation, was sentenced to 111 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his participation in a scheme utilizing stolen identities to commit income tax, unemployment, and credit card frauds. A restitution hearing is scheduled for January 2016. Jeudy previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. On Jan. 7, 2015, the Sunrise Police Department initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by Jeudy. After smelling the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle, the detective conducted a search of the car and found a loaded handgun, ammunition, approximately 20 credit cards in various names, new iPhones and iPads, bank records of an unrelated individual, and receipts of four Visa debit cards purchased earlier that day for approximately $2,000. During the execution of a search warrant, officers found more than 100 credit and debit cards in the names of various individuals, numerous documents with the personally identifying information (“PII”) of different individuals, along with various electronic devices including computers, thumb drives and cellular telephones. Subsequent forensic analysis by federal law enforcement revealed more than 8,000 sets of PII was found on the recovered digital devices. In addition, an analysis revealed that some of the recovered debit cards had received approximately $30,000 in fraudulent income tax refunds and were associated with fraudulent unemployment insurance claims. Law enforcement further determined that Jeudy was responsible for filing unemployment insurance benefits claims totaling $100,000.

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.

Two Defendants Sentenced for Participation in a Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme
On Oct. 22, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Adrian Claude Green Jr., of Miami Gardens, was sentenced to 34 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $34,000 to the IRS. Aquil Emmons, of Marietta, Georgia, was sentenced on Sept. 22, 2015, to 12 months and a day in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $31,600 to the IRS. Green and Emmons pleaded guilty to using one or more unauthorized access devices to obtain goods worth $1,000 or more and aggravated identity theft. From March 17, 2012 through April 12, 2012, Emmons and Green used a number of prepaid debit cards, loaded with illicit federal tax refunds and registered in the names of various individuals, to purchase a 2007 BMW and a 2009 Mercedes Benz at a car dealership in Broward County.

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.

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.

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.

Louisiana Residents Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 13, 2015, in New Orleans, Angela Chaney, of Hammond, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Craig Lewis, also of Hammond, was sentenced to three years of probation. Chaney and Lewis previously pleaded guilty to a multi-object conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit theft of public money and mail fraud. Chaney also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. Restitution to the IRS will be determined at a later date. Chaney, Lewis and 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 in Louisiana, including post office boxes that were opened by the co-conspirators. The co-conspirators divided the proceeds of the refund checks amongst themselves. Cedrick Mitchell, Corey Lewis and Thaddeus Richardson have received sentences ranging from 33 months to 75 months and other defendants await sentencing.

Two Florida Residents Sentenced for Stolen Identity Tax Fraud
On Oct. 9, 2015, in Miami, Florida, Phillip Collins and Godfrey Teekah Jr., both of Miami Gardens, were sentenced to 25 and 24 months in prison, respectively, and three years of supervised release. Both were also ordered to pay restitution. Collins and Teekah previously pleaded guilty to possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft. Collins and Teekah possessed debit cards in the names of other individuals and personal identification information (PII) of hundreds of others including names, dates of birth and social security numbers. Teekah and Collins were aware that false tax returns would be filed using the PII and the debit cards were used to obtain the fraudulent tax returns.

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.

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.

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.