Tallahassee Residents Convicted in Scheme to File False Tax Returns Using Personal Information of Others
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA –Kimberly Watson, Malcolm Lipscomb, and Shavone Ricketts, all of Tallahassee, were found guilty by a jury yesterday of conspiracy to file false claims against the United States by filing false tax returns for 2008, 2009, and 2010. The false returns claimed over $80,000 in refunds. These defendants were also found guilty of aggravated identity theft for their use of personal information in this scheme.
In addition, Watson was found guilty on 17 counts of filing false claims and 18 counts of wire fraud. Lipscomb was found guilty on seven counts of wire fraud, and Ricketts was found guilty on one count of filing a false claim and two counts of wire fraud. They are scheduled to be sentenced on August 28, 2013.
The defendants obtained the personal information of others and submitted false income tax returns that contained fabricated information, such as false wage information and false claims for refundable credits. The fraudulently inflated refunds were deposited into the defendants’ own bank accounts or placed onto pre-paid debit cards.
Another defendant charged in the case, Alfretta Jones, pled guilty to the conspiracy, as well as obstruction of justice, making false statements, and perjury. Her sentencing is set for July 25, 2013.
Each defendant could face up to ten years of imprisonment on the conspiracy count, up to five years of imprisonment on each count of filing a false claim, and up to 20 years of imprisonment on each wire fraud count. Each count of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two years of imprisonment that must be served consecutive to any other sentence.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Corey J. Smith.