Third Defendant Pleads Guilty in Scheme to File False Tax Returns on Behalf of State Prisoners

Fraudulent Tax Scheme Resulted in Loss of $365,599

August 13, 2008

Baltimore, Maryland - Karen Woodard, age 43, of Suitland, 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, Woodard received and mailed tax returns to the IRS on behalf of inmates, claiming refunds that were not actually due. Woodard mailed and distributed the fraudulent refunds to inmates in the Maryland Department of Corrections. Woodard also tried to recruit her friend to assist in the fraud. To hide the nature of their discussions, Woodard mailed items to inmates using false names.

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.

“The object of these schemes is to defraud the government and the taxpaying public. CI will continue to aggressively pursue those who file false tax returns to claim refunds for which they are not entitled.” stated C. Andre' Martin, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge.

Woodard faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson scheduled her sentencing for October 29, 2008 at 10:00 a.m.

Melanie Taylor, age 34, of La Plata, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme and was sentenced today to three years probation, with six months to be served in home detention with electronic monitoring. Judge Nickerson also ordered Taylor to pay restitution of $365,599.41. Co-defendant Giacumo Marzano, age 67, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty on July 15, 2008 to conspiracy to defraud the United States and to aggravated identity theft. Marzano faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the conspiracy and a mandatory two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, for aggravated identity theft at his sentencing on October 7, 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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