Alabama Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy in Tax Refund Identity Theft Scheme
Scottie Alice Johnson of Montgomery County, Ala., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States for her role in a Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF) scheme, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.
According to court documents, Johnson conspired with Barbara Murry, Veronica Temple and Yolanda Moses to receive fraudulently obtained tax refunds. Yolanda Moses created a tax-preparation business called B & B Tax Service, which was located in the same building as co-defendant Barbara Murry’s hair weaving shop, called B & B Weaving. The conspirators obtained stolen identities from multiple sources and recruited individuals, including Scottie Alice Johnson, to deposit fraudulently obtained tax refunds into their respective bank accounts. Yolanda Moses and Veronica Temple filed false tax returns using the stolen identities and directed the refunds into bank accounts they or their co-conspirators controlled. Between January 2006 and April 2012, Barbara Murry, Veronica Temple and Yolanda Moses filed over 900 false tax returns with the IRS and fraudulently claimed in excess of $1.7 million. Scottie Alice Johnson’s bank account received $140,505.22 in refunds proceeds. Johnson also used her son’s bank account in the scheme to receive $22,650 in tax refunds.
Sentencing has not yet been scheduled. Johnson faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution, and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the loss caused by the offense. Barbara Murry, Veronica Temple and Yolanda Moses earlier pleaded guilty to various charges and each was sentenced to 57 months in prison.
Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, commended the efforts of special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, Tax Division Trial Attorneys Jason H. Poole and Michael Boteler and Assistant United States Attorney Todd Brown, who prosecuted the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/tax.