FEDS INVESTIGATING, PROSECUTING VARIETY OF TAX CASES
April 14, 2011
As Tax Deadline Approaches, Citizens Reminded to File Returns
and be on the Alert for Fraud
ATLANTA, GA - The United States Attorney’s Office and the Internal Revenue Service today reminds citizens in the Northern District of Georgia to file their taxes by April 18, to be on the lookout for fraudulent tax schemes and tax return preparers who are not qualified, and to resist any attempts to take any illegal shortcuts or engage in other fraudulent activity.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Those who do not pay their fair share of taxes shortchange the system. In a time when we face such significant budget issues, it is particularly reprehensible that some are not paying their fair share. We will aggressively pursue all who commit tax fraud.”
IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Reginael McDaniel said, “One of the primary missions at IRS Criminal Investigation is to deter tax fraud through education and publicity. I believe that public awareness is a critical element in deterring potential tax fraud, and by educating the public about tax scams and publicizing that offenders are caught and punished, we hope to prevent individuals from taking that fateful step. With the April 18th tax deadline looming, it is important for taxpayers to have confidence that when they pay their taxes, everyone else will do the same.”
Recent tax cases prosecuted in the Northern District of Georgia include:
JEFF GUINN, 45, of Monroe, Georgia, was convicted by a jury on March 25, 2011, of willfully failing to file income tax returns. GUINN, a plumber who owned his own business, and was a member of the “American Rights Litigators” tax protest group, refused to file federal income tax returns for 2003 through 2006. GUINN asserted that he did not file the returns because he believed the Internal Revenue Code did not apply to him, and that he felt under the Constitution that he was entitled to keep one hundred percent of his income. The jury deliberated for less than two hours before finding him guilty on all 4 counts of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns. GUINN is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Bly.
VERNON A. ROBERTS, 52, of Conyers, Georgia; GREGORY A. SHEPHERD, 55, of Stone Mountain, Georgia; and GUILLERMINA CARMONA, 38, of Kissimmee, Florida, formerly of Fredericksted, Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, were indicted by a federal grand jury on March 24, 2010. They were charged with conspiracy and multiple counts of aiding or assisting the preparation of false tax returns, in connection with a scheme to e-file over 200 false income tax returns with the IRS on behalf of residents of Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, claiming a total of $586,689 in fraudulent tax refunds, between 2004 and 2007. The returns contained false self-employment income numbers and other false items, including false Georgia addresses used to misrepresent the taxpayers' eligibility to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit.
ROBERTS was convicted of one count of conspiracy and eight counts of aiding or assisting the preparation of false tax returns after a four-day jury trial that ended on September 24, 2010. ROBERTS was sentenced to 6 years, 6 months in federal prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $443,864 in restitution. SHEPHERD pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy on September 13, 2010, agreed to cooperate, and was sentenced to 9 months in federal prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $163,161 in restitution. CARMONA pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy on May 26, 2010, agreed to cooperate, and was sentenced to 1 year, 6 months in federal prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $512,070 in restitution. ROBERTS, SHEPHERD and CARMONA were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Chaiken.
LASHANZE SHARIEF, 37, of Snellville, Georgia, was charged today, April 14, 2011, in a Criminal Information with three felony counts, including filing false tax returns, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to file fraudulent federal and state tax returns using the names and identifying information of deceased individuals. The Information charged that SHARIEF filed fraudulent returns claiming federal and state tax refunds amounting to $ $466,640.00.
DEIDRA McCLENDON, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia, pleaded guilty on April 4, 2011, before United States District Judge Marvin S. Shoob to charges of filing false tax claims, identity theft and use of a social security number to commit a crime. She admitted using fraudulent 1099 earnings statements and submitting them in support of tax returns of various individuals who were unaware that their personal information was being used to file and obtain tax returns. In 2007, McCLENDON used a fraudulent 1099 form and filed a tax return for the 2006 tax year on behalf of her own mother who died in 2005. She will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marvin H. Shoob on June 9, 2011. McCLENDON is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Plummer.
DALAWNI HOLLOMON, 42, of Snellville, Georgia, pleaded guilty on February 28, 2011, to a three-count Criminal Information charging her with filing false tax returns, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to file fraudulent federal and state tax returns using the names and identifying information of deceased individuals. HOLLOMON admitted filing returns requesting federal and state tax refunds amounting to $488,872.00. HOLLOMON awaits sentencing in United States District Court before U.S. District Judge Willis B. Hunt. HOLLOMON was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jamila Hall.
ROBERT C. BOOT, 59, of Sharpsburg, Georgia, was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 14, 2010, on two counts of tax evasion and two counts of failure to file tax returns. On December 8, 2010, BOOT entered a guilty plea to two counts of failure to file, and in his plea agreement, BOOT admitted that he owed $75,196.25 in taxes for tax years 2002-04. He agreed to pay this amount, together with $33,311 in interest and a fraud penalty to be determined. Sentencing is scheduled for May 9, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten. BOOT is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian Pearce.
KEVON KERR, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia, TYRONE BOYD, 32, of Decatur, Georgia, LAWANDA MITCHELL, 30, of Atlanta, Georgia, and ASHUANA TURNER, 35, of Riverdale, Georgia, were indicted by a federal grand jury on June 15, 2010, on 42 counts of identity theft with the intent to steal federal monies by filing fraudulent income tax returns. The scheme involved the filing of fraudulent federal and state tax returns with the identifications of Navy sailors and new recruits stolen by then Petty Officer KERR from an military inprocessing facility at Fort Gillem, where he was assigned. On November 22, 2010, BOYD pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of theft of public money. On January 27, 2011, MITCHELL pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of wire fraud. KERR is scheduled to plead guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of wire fraud on May 2, 2011, before U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Story. TURNER's case remains pending. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian Pearce.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
These cases were investigated by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.
For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.