West Frankfort Woman Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison for Receiving Nearly $1 Million in Fraudulent Income Tax Refunds
Stephen R. Wigginton, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that Jessica N. Childers, 38, of West Frankfort, Illinois, was sentenced in United States District Court in Benton today to a term of 108 months imprisonment for her role in submitting false income tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service between 2008, and 2010, in which she fraudulently claimed entitlement to $1,532,184 in refunds and from which she actually received $998,614.34. Previously, on August 11, 2011, Childers pled guilty to a three count Information charging her with Conspiracy to Submit False, Fictitious, and Fraudulent Claims to the United States, Receipt of Money Stolen from the United States, and Aggravated Identity Theft.
Evidence offered in support of the guilty pleas and sentence showed that in January, 2008, Childers began electronically submitting false income tax returns to the IRS using the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of real individuals who were deceased. Between January 2008 and March 2010, Childers submitted 572 such false returns claiming over $1.5 million in fraudulent refunds. After discovering the scam, federal authorities were able to seize $192,512.55 from her bank accounts.
In addition to the 9 year term of imprisonment, Childers was ordered to pay $806,101.79 in restitution to the United States Treasury, a special assessment of $300, and was placed on a term of 3 years supervised release to follow her incarceration.
Under federal law, parole has been abolished meaning that Childers will be required to serve a minimum of 85% of her 108 month sentence.
Childers’ husband, David A. Childers, 35, also pled guilty to conspiring to submit false claims to the United States and receiving money stolen from the United States. His sentencing is set for February 1, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. at the United States District Courthouse in Benton.
The investigation into the case was conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James M. Cutchin.