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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Two Alabama Women Separately Plead Guilty for Roles in Tax Fraud Conspiracy
Charged with Fraudulently Obtain Tax Refunds by Using Stolen Identities

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Betty Washington, a resident of Montgomery County, Ala., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud the United States, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.

According to charging documents, between October 2009 and September 2010 Washington conspired with others to fraudulently obtain tax refunds by using stolen identities to file false income tax returns. Washington opened up an account at a local bank to receive tax refunds from the scheme and deposited 16 different refunds, issued in the name of 16 different individuals, into the account. When the bank closed the account because of the suspicious nature of the deposits, she opened new accounts at a credit union in her name and in the name of Central Alabama Financial Services.

Over the course of several months, more than 300 false refunds totaling more than $1.4 million were deposited into these accounts. To disburse these proceeds, Washington wrote checks, withdrew cash and obtained official checks payable to various co-conspirators and associates. She retained a portion of the proceeds for herself.

Sentencing has not yet been scheduled. Washington faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the loss caused by the offense.

In a separate case, Wendy Delbridge, also a resident of Montgomery County, Ala., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud the United States. Both women admitted to working for members of a tax fraud and identity theft conspiracy indicted last month in Montgomery.

According to charging documents, between February 2010 and June 2010 Delbridge conspired with others to fraudulently obtain tax refunds by using stolen identities to file false income tax returns. Delbridge opened up an account at a local bank to receive tax refunds from the scheme. When the bank closed the account because it was receiving tax refunds that were not in Delbridge’s name, she opened a new account at a credit union. The two accounts received over $50,000 in false tax refunds, which Delbridge withdrew in cash and provided to a co-conspirator. In return, Delbridge was paid a portion of the fraudulently obtained proceeds.

Sentencing has not yet been scheduled. Delbridge faces a maximum of ten years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a maximum fine of $250,000.

IRS-Criminal Investigation agents investigated this case, and Justice Department Tax Division trial attorneys Jason Poole and Michael Boteler are prosecuting the case.

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Tax Division
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