Remaining Two Defendants Sentenced In Identity Theft Related Tax Refund Scheme
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA - The last two of nine defendants convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States in relation to the filing of false tax returns have been sentenced to federal prison. Willie Coachman, 67, of Jasper, was sentenced late yesterday by United States District Judge Robert L. Hinkle to 70 months in prison following his June 7th conviction by a jury for tax fraud conspiracy and seven counts of wire fraud. At the same time, Gregory Antonio Clayton, 30, of Perry, was also sentenced to 33 months in prison following his guilty plea to involvement in the tax fraud conspiracy.
Earlier this year, seven co-defendants pled guilty to conspiring to prepare and file more than 350 fraudulent federal income tax returns between 2008 and 2011, seeking more than $2.4 million in tax refunds. The conspirators created fraudulent returns using taxpayer identification numbers and other personal identifying information stolen from both living and deceased individuals, as well as wholly fictitious information such as employer names, names of dependents, and tax withholding amounts.
United States District Judge Robert L. Hinkle previously sentenced the first seven defendants as follows:
- Loretta Lashaun Glover, 41, was sentenced to serve 108 months in prison;
- Henry Edward Clayton, 32, was sentenced to 27 months in prison;
- Tasheika Shamona Jackson, 24, was sentenced to 33 months in prison;
- Melissa Lynn Clayton, 21, was sentenced to 36 months in prison;
- Tabitha Ann Bass, 33, was sentenced to 29 months in prison;
- Genetris Carmine Jones, 25, was sentenced to 48 months in prison; and
- Latosha Dawn Glover, 32, was sentenced to 66 months in prison.
In announcing the sentences, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, Pamela C. Marsh, expressed her deep gratitude for the efforts and expertise of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the United States Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Perry Police Department, and the Lowndes County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office, whose joint investigation led to the convictions in this case.
Ms. Marsh added, “The Department of Justice is committed to vigorously prosecuting those individuals and groups of individuals who steal the identities of our citizens and use those stolen identities to fraudulently obtain large amounts of money from the Government. The crimes of identity theft and identity fraud are particularly harmful because, in many cases, citizens are victimized twice – first, when their identity is stolen and used to fraudulently obtain tax refund monies in their name, and second, when the taxpayer is prevented from receiving a lawful refund after submitting a legitimate claim because the IRS has already paid out a refund in response to the fraudulent claim made by a criminal in the taxpayer’s name.”
IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, James D. Robnett, of the Tampa Field Office stated, “The sentences handed down in this case are an example of the serious stance that the courts have taken regarding identity theft-related tax fraud. Not only are the U.S. taxpayers victims, but so are the individuals and families impacted by the identity theft. In cooperation with our federal, state and local counterparts, the IRS has come forward to aggressively attack this problem and we will continue to put our efforts and resources into bringing severe offenders to justice.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Coody.