WASHINGTON – Vernon Harrison, of Montgomery, Ala., was sentenced to serve 111 months in prison and three years supervised release, along with an order to pay $82,791 restitution, for his role in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally of the Justice Department's Tax Division and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama George L. Beck Jr. Harrison was convicted on July 3, 2013, following a jury trial in the Middle District of Alabama. He was found guilty of conspiracy to file false claims, as well as numerous counts of mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and embezzlement from the mail.
According to the evidence presented at the trial, Harrison was a corrupt U.S. Postal Service mail carrier who was recruited to join a stolen identity refund fraud conspiracy. Members of the conspiracy used stolen identities to file false tax returns, which claimed fraudulent tax refunds. The returns were filed from various locations, including houses and hotels around Montgomery and Birmingham, Ala. The tax refunds were placed on debit cards that were mailed to addresses along Harrison's postal route in Montgomery. Harrison stole the debit cards from the mail and provided them to a co-conspirator in exchange for cash. During this period Harrison stole over 100 debit cards from the mail for his co-conspirators.
At trial, federal agents showed that they had uncovered substantial evidence of the conspiracy during the execution of search warrants at locations in Montgomery and near Birmingham. This evidence included over 100 envelopes for debit cards that had been mailed to addresses on Harrison's postal route, as well as agents' observation that Harrison failed to deliver Turbo Tax debit cards.
Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Tax Division, commended the efforts of special agents of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General, who investigated the case, and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Jason Poole and Michael Boteler, who prosecuted the case. Additional information about the Justice Department's Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/tax.