Two Men Sentenced To Federal Prison For Identity Theft And Tax Refund Fraud Conspiracy
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Senior United States District Judge Roger Vinson sentenced two men following their pleas of guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government, four counts of theft of public money, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. Victor T. Williams, 28, of Tampa, Florida was sentenced to forty-two months, and Kenneth R. Faison, 51, of Foley, Alabama was sentenced to twenty-four months in prison. The sentences were announced by Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Between November 2011 and November 2012, Williams fraudulently obtained tax refund checks in the Tampa area and sent them to Faison, who deposited and cashed the checks in banks in northwest Florida and southern Alabama. Faison used accounts in the name of a church where he served as pastor to convert the checks. Once Faison had deposited the checks, he kept a percentage of the stolen funds for himself and transferred the remainder to Williams. Faison and Williams also committed identity fraud to convert the checks in at least two instances, including using identifying information stolen from a victim taxpayer in order to add the taxpayer as signatory to Faison’s bank account so he could deposit a check. As part of each defendant’s sentence, Senior Judge Vinson ordered the payment of more than $220,000, which was successfully stolen from the government as a result of this conspiracy.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia Kim as part of a Department of Justice initiative to fight stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF). In September 2012, the Department issued Tax Division Directive 144, which sets forth expedited Department review procedures for SIRF cases, enabling law enforcement to respond quickly and effectively to the grave challenges presented in SIRF cases and to prevent the victimization of innocent taxpayers whose identities are stolen by fraudsters.