Montgomery Woman Pleads Guilty to Theft of an IRS Refund, Aggravated Identity Theft and Fraudulent Use of Debit Cards
Montgomery, Alabama - On August 29, 2012, Rhashema Deramus, 23 of Montgomery, Alabama pled guilty to multiple charges stemming from her part in a fraudulent income tax refund scheme, announced U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr. Deramus and those working for her stole people’s identities and used those stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns. They then received the tax refunds from the IRS on pre-paid debit cards and cashed the money out at ATM’s for their own use.
Deramus pled guilty to one count of stealing an income tax refund. During the plea hearing, she admitted that she filed tax returns using other people’s names, dates of birth and social security numbers. She further admitted that those people did not know that she had taken their identity nor filed taxes in their names. She then received the tax refunds and used the money for herself. Deramus also pled guilty to two counts of taking debit cards issued in others names and cashing out the debit cards at ATM’s. Deramus admitted that she obtained debit cards in other people’s names that were loaded with IRS refunds and cashed out those debit cards at ATM’s.
Deramus further pled guilty to two counts of aggravated identity theft. These counts stem from her obtaining the names, dates of birth and social security numbers from various businesses and agencies. Deramus used that identifying information to file the fraudulent tax returns. Lastly, Deramus pled guilty to possessing fifteen or more unauthorized debit cards.
“Identity theft is a rising problem in this district and across the country,” stated U.S. Attorney Beck. “Businesses that store the personal information of employees, clients, or customers must protect it. We must train and carefully screen those who have access to personal names, addresses and social security numbers. Much identity theft can be prevented if business, agencies and individuals act together.”
“Identity theft is an ongoing problem in the United States and the use of stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns is on the rise,” stated Resident Agent in Charge Clayton Slay, U.S. Secret Service in Montgomery, Alabama. This particular scheme had ties to several cities and communities in Alabama and Georgia. Slay continued by saying “This was a collaborative effort between the Montgomery and Troy Police Departments, the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office, local bank investigators, U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Secret Service dating back to October 2010. With the assistance of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and through the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms Deramus and others are being prosecuted for their involvement in this scheme. The U.S. Secret Service will remain proactive in the investigation of individuals and groups associated with these types of crimes.”
If convicted of these charges, Deramus could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service. Assistant United States Attorney Brent Woodall is prosecuting the case.
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