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levonne stewart indictment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2010

 

BATON ROUGE WOMAN ARRESTED FOR FILING FALSE TAX RETURNS

BATON ROUGE, LA – United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. announced that a Federal Grand Jury returned a sealed indictment on September 15, 2010, charging LEVONNE STEWART, 42, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with conspiracy to file false claims for tax refunds, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The indictment was unsealed after Special Agents with the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation arrested STEWART this morning. STEWART faces a maximum sentence of 74 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,500,000.

The indictment alleges that, from January 2007 through April 2007, STEWART conspired with others, including Sheila Cage and Clarissa Ayo, to obtain the names and social security numbers of various individuals and to prepare false and fraudulent federal income tax returns for filing with the IRS. The conspiracy included falsely claiming that taxpayers had been self-employed and had earned income to maximize the refund amount obtained.

Sheila Cage was charged in a bill of information with conspiracy to file false claims for tax refunds, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. She pled guilty on June 4, 2009, and admitted to an intended loss of $1,184,882.83. Clarissa Ayo was charged in a bill of information with conspiracy to file false claims for tax refunds, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. She pled guilty on June 29, 2010, and admitted to her involvement with tax returns claiming $136,076.67.

James C. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, stated, "IRS Criminal Investigation is determined to stop these false tax refund schemes. False tax claims are theft from the government, and we will continue to aggressively pursue those who file false tax returns to claim refunds for which they are not entitled."

The investigation of STEWART was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, United States Secret Service, and Social Security Administration. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rich Bourgeois.

NOTE: An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that probable cause exists to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty at trial.

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