Stone Mountain Woman Sentenced for Identity Theft
ATLANTA - Cora Cadia Ford has been sentenced for filing false federal tax returns for refund using stolen identities, including those of homeless and disabled persons.
“Stealing someone's identity for personal gain is bad enough, but this defendant targeted some of the most vulnerable people in our community -- the homeless and disabled,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Her crimes left people who were already disadvantaged to deal with yet another obstacle in their lives. The defendant’s significant sentence today will hopefully bring some solace to those who suffered from her greed.”
“Cora Ford thought she had figured out a clever scheme using the identities of people who were homeless, mentally challenged, and physically disabled to steal and defraud the American taxpayers,” stated IRS Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge, Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot. “Today's sentence clearly demonstrates that taking advantage, manipulating, and stealing from the American people will not be ignored or go unpunished.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: From approximately January 2007 to May 2011, Ford prepared and filed false tax returns with the IRS, using the names and social security numbers of the poor, homeless and disabled. Ford intentionally prepared each tax return with false information so that it would generate a tax refund. Ford obtained the tax refund checks and deposited them into her own bank account or cashed the checks at check-cashing stores, and used the money for her own benefit. As a result of Ford’s crimes, many of the victims whose names and social security numbers were stolen had their social security disability benefits reduced or eliminated for a period of time.
Ford obtained the victims’ names and social security numbers in a variety of ways. Sometimes Ford convinced victims to provide her with their identifying information so that she could apply on their behalf for a homeless grant with the Government. In fact, no such Government grant existed. In other instances, Ford, who also ran a small church with her now-deceased husband, told her victims that she would file a tax return on their behalf and it would be “a gift from God.” Truthfully, Ford used the victims’ identifying information to prepare and file false tax returns, and kept the entire tax refund for herself. One victim, who testified that her social security disability benefits were reduced to approximately $27 per month as a result of Ford’s crimes, causing her to be unable to afford her own medications, stated that the defendant’s crimes had ruined her life.
Ford, 55, of Stone Mountain, Ga., was sentenced by United States District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. to nine years, three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $101,015. Ford was found guilty by a jury on September 20, 2013, on 30 counts of mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and filing false claims with the Government.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas J. Krepp and Steven D. Grimberg prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.