News and Press Releases

Ayo Clarissa Sentencing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2011

WOMAN SENTENCED FOR FILING FALSE TAX RETURNS

BATON ROUGE, LA – United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. announced that U.S. District Judge James Brady sentenced CLARISSA T. AYO, 35, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to ninety-four (94) months in prison, to pay restitution of $76,762.67, and to three years supervised release after imprisonment.

AYO pled guilty on June 29, 2010, to conspiracy to file false claims for tax refunds, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. AYO conspired with others, including Sheila Cage and Levonne Stewart, 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. Some of these names and social security numbers were of residents at area nursing homes. Other names and social security numbers were traded or purchased between co-conspirators. The conspiracy included falsely claiming that taxpayers had been self-employed and had earned income to maximize the refund amount obtained. In all, AYO’s participation in this scheme involved approximately 42 false tax returns claiming refunds totaling $136,076.67.

Levonne Stewart was sentenced in February of 2011, to forty-eight (48) months imprisonment. Sheila Cage is scheduled for sentencing on May 12, 2011.

James C. Lee, Special Agent-in-Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, stated: “We are pleased with today’s sentencing of Ms. Ayo. The tax system is built on the premise that taxpayers file accurate and timely tax returns. Willfully aiding or assisting in the preparing of false tax returns is a serious crime, punishable under Federal law. To ensure confidence in our tax system, Special Agents of IRS Criminal Investigation are committed to the aggressive pursuit and prosecution of individuals who intentionally violate the nation's laws."

United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. stated, “This is another example of four federal agencies working together to protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

The investigation of AYO was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, United States Secret Service, and Social Security Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rich Bourgeois who serves as Deputy Criminal Chief.

 

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