Natacia Webster, an employee of the state of Alabama, pleaded guilty today to charges of conspiring to defraud the United States by filing false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced.
According to the indictment and other court documents, in 2011, Webster obtained identity information during her employment with the state of Alabama and provided that information to co-conspirator Melinda Clayton. Webster received money from Melinda Clayton in exchange for the stolen prisoner identities. Clayton used the stolen identities to file false tax returns that claimed fraudulent tax refunds. The refunds were directed to bank accounts and debit cards controlled by the conspirators. Clayton and several others were indicted in April 2011. Clayton pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 61 months in prison.
Sentencing has not yet been scheduled. Webster faces a minimum of two years in prison, a maximum of 32 years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a maximum fine of $750,000, or twice the loss caused by the offense.
The case was 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 Todd Brown of the Middle District of Alabama are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/tax.