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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 14, 2014

Oakland Residents Charged In False Tax Refund Fraud Scheme

OAKLAND – Akysha Rockwell made her initial appearance today and Paul Lamont Lee made his initial appearance on Friday, April 11, 2014, in federal court on a 20-count indictment charging them with conspiracy to file false claims, false claims, and identity fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.

According to the Indictment, unsealed today, between Jan. 12, 2012 and July 16, 2012, Lee and Rockwell participated in a scheme to obtain and help others obtain refunds from the IRS based on false claims. To accomplish this scheme, Lee and Rockwell allegedly obtained names, social security numbers, and dates of birth for numerous people. The defendants then electronically filed federal income tax returns, in the names of these other people, claiming refunds derived from false tax credits, including the Earned Income Credit, the Additional Child Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Credit.

Lee and Rockwell, both of Oakland, were indicted on March 13, 2014.

The maximum penalty for each count of conspiracy to file false claims, in violation of a Title 18, U.S.C § 286, is 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty for each count of false claims, in violation of a Title 18, U.S.C § 287, is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty for each count of identity fraud, in violation of a Title 18, U.S.C § 1028(a)(7), is two years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Moore is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations and, as with all defendants, Rockwell and Lee must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

(Lee & Rockwell indictment )