East Bay Residents Charged With Filing False Claims With IRS
SAN FRANCISCO – Charleszetta Brown, aka Candice Taylor, Clexton Ward, Peggie Terry and Carlisha Lawson were charged Tuesday with Conspiracy to File False Claims, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Marcus Williams.
According to the indictments, from June 2008 through February 2009, Charleszetta Brown and Clexton Ward filed or helped file false, claims with the IRS requesting refunds in their own names or in the names of others. Brown, Ward and their co-conspirators used the names and identities of individual taxpayers that were obtained through illegal means. The indictment alleges that the defendants requested false refunds on electronically filed tax returns to which the taxpayers listed on the federal income tax returns were not entitled. The indictment further alleges that the Brown and Ward asked for the fraudulent refunds to be directly deposited into accounts they controlled.
A separate indictment alleges that, from April 2008 through March 2009, Peggie Terry and Carlisha Lawson conspired to file false claims with the IRS requesting refunds in their own names or in the names of others. According to that indictment, Terry and Lawson allowed their co-conspirators to use their bank accounts to receive the fraudulent refunds. The indictment also alleges that Terry and Lawson attempted to conceal their involvement in the conspiracy by claiming to law enforcement that they had allowed a person named “Sam”, “Sammy” or “Samuel” to use their accounts.
Brown, 42 of Antioch, Calif., Terry, 60 and Lawson, 23, both of Pittsburg, Calif., were arrested yesterday morning and made their initial appearances in federal court in San Francisco. They were released on bond.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of Conspiracy to File False Claims, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C § 286 is ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Matthew J. Kluge, Trial Attorney with U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Newman are prosecuting these cases. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Brown, Ward, Terry and Lawson must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.