WASHINGTON – A resident of Elmore, Ala., was sentenced to 60 months in prison for stealing identities and using them to file false tax returns, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.
On Feb. 22, 2011, after a four-day trial, a jury in Montgomery, Ala., convicted Sharon Thurman of 14 counts of making false claims, two counts of theft of government money and two counts of aggravated identity theft. According to the indictment and evidence introduced during trial, Thurman owned and operated Sharon’s Tax Service in Elmore. Between January and April 2008, Thurman filed 14 fraudulent tax returns in which she unlawfully attempted to obtain tax refunds intended for individuals whose identities she stole.
At trial, 14 victims of identity theft testified that they did not file, and did not request Thurman to file the tax returns she filed in their names and Social Security numbers. Two victims in whose name she received payment from the IRS testified that they never received any money from Thurman. All 14 victims testified that, to the best of their knowledge, they had never met Thurman and had never been to Sharon’s Tax Service.
U.S. District Judge W. Harold Albritton III also ordered Thurman to serve three years of supervised release.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John A. DiCicco of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama Leura G. Canary commended the IRS Criminal Investigation special agents who investigated the case as well as Tax Division Trial Attorneys Justin Gelfand and Michael Boteler, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Morris, who are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts can be found at www.usdoj.gov/tax.