WASHINGTON – Three separate indictments were returned by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Alabama charging six different individuals on a variety of charges stemming from tax fraud and identity theft schemes, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.
Alchico Grant, of Lowndes County, Ala.; and Melinda Clayton, Veronica Dale and Stephanie Adams, all of Montgomery County, Ala., were charged in a superseding indictment unsealed today on a variety of counts stemming from an identity theft and tax fraud scheme. The 43-count indictment charges all four with conspiring to defraud the United States by filing false claims. Clayton, Dale and Grant are also charged with filing false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, while Adams is charged with theft of government funds.
According to the superseding indictment, the defendants conspired to fraudulently obtain federal income tax refunds by using stolen identities to file tax returns. Dale illegally obtained stolen identity information during her earlier employment at Electronic Data Systems Inc., and passed that information along to her co-conspirators. Clayton also obtained identity information from other sources. Clayton and Dale electronically filed false tax returns using the stolen identities and had the refunds deposited into bank accounts and prepaid debit cards they controlled. Dale and Grant purchased prepaid debit cards to receive refunds, while Adams made her bank account available to receive refunds.
Clayton and Grant had been charged in the first indictment in this case, which was returned April 27, 2011. The superseding indictment adds charges against both, and also charges Dale and Adams. Clayton had previously been arrested on a criminal complaint on April 8, 2011, following the execution of a search warrant at her house that same day. Grant and Dale had both previously been indicted in December 2010, along with several co-conspirators, for their involvement in an earlier conspiracy to obtain tax refunds using stolen identities.
The same federal grand jury in Montgomery, Ala., returned an indictment charging Chiquanta Davis, aka Nikki Davis, of Montgomery County, with using stolen identities to file false tax returns. She was charged on Aug. 31, 2011 with filing false claims, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft.
Davis had earlier been charged with making false claims in a criminal complaint that was filed on July 12, 2011. She was arrested two days later. According to the indictment and other court documents, Davis used stolen identities to file false tax returns which fraudulently claimed refunds. Davis had some of the refunds deposited into her own bank accounts. Court documents state that nearly 200 tax returns were electronically filed from an IP address belonging to Davis.
Marsha Elmore of Elmore County, Ala., was also indicted on Aug. 31, 2011, by a federal grand jury in Montgomery, for using stolen identities to file false tax returns. The 32-count indictment charges Elmore with filing false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Elmore was also charged in a criminal complaint that was filed on July 12, 2011, with making false claims. She was arrested two days later. According to the indictment and other court documents, between 2009 and 2011, Elmore owned and operated a tax preparation business called Community Tax, located in Wetumpka, Ala. Elmore used stolen identities to file false tax returns which fraudulently claimed refunds. The indictment and other court documents state that Elmore has been filing false tax returns since 2009 and that 400 tax returns were linked to Elmore in 2011 and 2010.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, Grant, Clayton, Dale and Adams face 10 years in prison for the conspiracy charge. Dale, Grant, Clayton, Davis and Elmore face five years in prison for each false claims count. Dale, Grant, Clayton and Elmore face 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count. Dale, Grant and Clayton, Davis and Elmore face a mandatory two year sentence for each aggravated identity theft counts. Adams and Davis also face five years in prison for each theft of government funds count. All the defendants are also subject to fines and mandatory restitution if convicted.
These cases were investigated by Special Agents of the IRS - Criminal Investigation. Trial attorneys Jason H. Poole and Michael Boteler of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Morris are prosecuting the case.
More information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/tax.