Stone Mountain Woman Charged with Identity Theft Scheme
Cora Ford Filed Fraudulent Tax Returns Seeking Refunds
Using Stolen Identities of the Homeless and Disabled
ATLANTA - Cora Cadia Ford, 54, of Stone Mountain, Georgia has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and filing false claims. Ford was arraigned by United States Magistrate Judge Gerrilyn G. Brill on September 12, 2012, and was released on bond.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “This defendant is accused of stealing the identities of some of our community’s most vulnerable – individuals with physical or mental disabilities, and the homeless. We will make every effort to bring to justice those who seek to prey on the disadvantaged.”
Acting Special Agent in Charge, Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot stated, “Identity thieves have figured out that if they obtain Social Security numbers, they can file false returns with us. Identifying, investigating and vigorously prosecuting those individuals involved in these tax related identity theft schemes remains a top priority for IRS Criminal Investigation.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court, from at least approximately January 2007 to May 2011, Ford allegedly targeted certain individuals who she knew or believed were mentally handicapped, physically disabled, or homeless in order to obtain and use their names and Social Security numbers to file fraudulent federal tax returns seeking false refunds. It is alleged that in some instances, Ford falsely represented to these individuals that she would use their personal identifying information to provide them with homeless benefits or obtain money from a government program for the disabled. In fact, Ford used the personal identifying information to obtain false tax refunds for her own personal benefit.
The indictment charges mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and filing false claims. Each mail fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and each false claim count carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. The aggravated identity theft charges carry at least one mandatory two-year consecutive sentence to any other sentence imposed. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service.
U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division Trial Attorney Thomas J. Krepp and Assistant United States Attorney Steven D. Grimberg are prosecuting the case.
If anyone has additional information or believes he or she may be a victim of this scheme, please call the Internal Revenue Service at 404-338-7533.
Members of the public are reminded that the 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.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (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.