La Plata Woman Pleads Guilty in Scheme to File False Tax Returns on Behalf of State Prisoners

Fraudulent Tax Scheme Resulted in Loss of $365,599

May 14, 2008

Baltimore, Maryland - Melanie Taylor, age 34, of La Plata, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to defraud the United States in connection with a scheme to file false income tax returns on behalf of inmates from the Maryland Department of Corrections and other prisons, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to her plea agreement, from 2004 to 2007, Taylor received and mailed tax returns to the IRS on behalf of inmates, claiming refunds that were not actually due. To hide the scheme and her true identity, Taylor used a fake name and received an Employee Identification Number for a false construction company. She received fraudulent tax refunds that were directly deposited into her bank account. Taylor kept part of the refunds for herself, mailed and distributed the fraudulent refunds to inmates in the Maryland Department of Corrections or used the money to purchase items for the inmates.

Although the entire tax loss associated with this scheme was $365,599.41, the loss attributable to Taylor’s participation is between $70,000 and $120,000.

Taylor faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson scheduled her sentencing for July 30, 2008 at 10:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Kwame J. Manley, who is prosecuting the case.



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