MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Leroy Howard, a resident of Montgomery pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud the United States, the Justice Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.
Along with four other defendants, Howard was indicted Dec. 14, 2010, by a federal grand jury sitting in Montgomery on a variety of charges stemming from a large-scale tax fraud and identity theft conspiracy based in that city. According to the indictment and other court documents, over a two year period in 2009 and 2010, the conspirators used stolen identities to file millions of dollars in false tax returns that claimed fraudulent refunds. Between January and June of 2010, Howard was responsible for funneling tens of thousands of dollars in fraud proceeds to his co-conspirators.
In January 2010, Howard opened up a bank account into which fraudulent tax refunds were deposited, he withdrew the money and then provided it to co-conspirator Veronica Dale and others. Howard also received tens of thousands of dollars in checks from Betty Washington, who also helped move fraud proceeds. Howard received a monetary portion of each of these transactions.
Washington pleaded guilty Jan. 5, 2011, to a charge of conspiring to defraud the United States. Her sentencing is set for June 16, 2011. The case against Dale and several other co-conspirators is awaiting trial.
The court did not set a sentencing date. Howard 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.
IRS-Criminal Investigation agents investigated this case, and Justice Department Tax Division trial attorneys Jason Poole and Michael Boteler are prosecuting the case.
More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts is available at www.usdoj.gov/tax/.