TAX PREPARER AND FORMER SHERIFF’S DEPUTY PLEAD GUILTY
TAMARA SCOTT-LANDRY, age 37 and her husband WARREN LEBEAUF, JR., age 42, both residents of St. Charles Parish, pled guilty on the morning of trial in federal court today before U. S. District Judge Carl Barbier to conspiracy to defraud the United States. SCOTT-LANDRY also pled guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, announced U. S. Jim Letten and James C. Lee, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
According to court documents, on or about February 19, 2004, TAMARA SCOTT-LANDRY, doing business as Scott’s Accounting Service, applied for and was granted an Electronic Filers Identification Number (EFIN) by the IRS. A tax business obtains an EFIN in order to electronically prepare and transmit, via computer, tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service. An EFIN also allows a return preparer the ability to offer a variety of tax refund products including cashier’s checks, prepaid cash cards, or debit cards. As part of her business practices, the defendant, TAMARA SCOTT-LANDRY, used a computer to electronically file tax returns.
WARREN S. LEBEAUF, JR. was employed by the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office since 1989 and earned the rank of lieutenant. In his position as a St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Deputy, WARREN S. LEBEAUF, JR. had the ability to obtain individuals’ personal information to include names, dates of birth, and social security numbers through the Louisiana Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (LLETS). The LLETS system can be accessed through a computer terminal staged at the St. Charles Parish 911 Call Center. In his position, WARREN S. LEBEAUF, JR. had the ability to request that the 911 call center provide him with information from the LLETS system. In order to assist the defendant, TAMARA SCOTT-LANDRY, WARREN S. LEBEAUF, JR. abused his position and exceeded his authority by collecting the personal information of individuals so that false tax returns could be filed.
Evidence would show that SCOTT-LANDRY provided a list of prison inmate names to LEBEAUF. LEBEAUF then had the names run through the St. Charles Parish 911 call center LLETS system. LEBEAUF met a 911 call center operator at a park to receive over 4,000 pages of printouts from the LLETS system, and paid the operator $100.
LEBEAUF then provided the printouts to SCOTT-LANDRY so that she could use the personal information to file fraudulent tax returns. The tax forms filed with the IRS made the returns payable to cashiers checks and stored value cards that SCOTT-LANDRY possessed as part of her tax-preparation business. The funds were then deposited into bank accounts controlled by LEBEAUF and SCOTT-LANDRY.
Speaking on today’s fraud conviction, Special Agent in Charge Lee stated:
“IRS Criminal Investigation has made investigating refund fraud and identity theft a top priority. Filing fraudulent tax returns in the names of other individuals may result in significant harm to those individuals whose identities were stolen, as well as monetary loss against the U. S. Treasury.”
SCOTT-LANDRY and LEBEAUF face a maximum term of imprisonment of ten (10) years on the conspiracy charge, a fine of $250,000.00 and up to three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. SCOTT-LANDRY also faces a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty (20) years on the wire fraud charge, and a mandatory two (2) year enhancement in addition to any sentence received for the aggravated identity theft charge.
U. S. Attorney Letten and Special Agent in Charge Lee, as well as the investigative and prosecution team, offer their thanks to Sheriff Greg Champagne and the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office for providing valuable assistance in this investigation and for their outstanding law enforcement partnership.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U. S. Attorneys G. Dall Kammer and Jon Maestri.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org