News and Press Releases

Tax Return Preparer Found Guilty For Involvement in Stole Identity refund fraud scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 4, 2013

Tampa, Florida– Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury has found Kenyon Lamont Williams guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States, filing false claims with the United States, and wire fraud.  In addition, Williams was found guilty on two counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.  He faces a maximum penalty of forty-nine years in federal prison.  A sentencing hearing has been set for January 24, 2014.

Williams was first indicted on January 10, 2013.  Subsequently, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment against him on April 18, 2013.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Williams worked in San Diego, California as a certified tax return preparer.  Between 2007 and 2010, he worked as a part-time seasonal tax preparer.  Around the beginning of 2011, Williams opened his own tax preparation service, which he operated out of his residence.

On January 25, 2012, Williams called his friend and fellow tax return preparer, Alesia Spivey, who lived in Tampa, Florida, and discussed the 2012 tax season and Williams’ desire to maximize refund amounts for his clients.  During this conversation, Williams solicited information from Spivey regarding methods used, in Tampa, to increase tax refunds.  Spivey and Carlista Hawls explained to Williams that individuals in Tampa were using a particular interest income scheme to file bogus tax returns with the IRS.  Spivey instructed Williams on how to fill out the tax returns by employing this interest income scheme. 

During several subsequent telephone conversations, Williams, Spivey, and Hawls discussed the interest income scheme being employed by them.  Between January 25 and July 19, 2012, Williams prepared 168 fraudulent tax returns for tax year 2011 using bogus interest income figures provided by Spivey and Hawls. In all, the 168 fraudulent tax returns accepted by the IRS requested approximately $670,513.00 in refunds, resulting in the payment of approximately $517,744.00 in tax refunds.

In addition, on March 2, 2012, Spivey and Hawls flew to San Diego, California to meet with Williams.  During that trip, Williams provided Spivey and Hawls with a list of names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, including a stack of Navy blood donor records, to be used in preparing fraudulent tax returns in Tampa.

Spivey pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme in January 2013. For her involvement in the scheme, Hawls pleaded guilty in February 2013. Both are currently scheduled to be sentenced in December 2013.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Simon Gaugush and Adam Saltzman.

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