Four from Northeast Ohio indicted for $2 million tax fraud
Four people from Northeast Ohio were indicted for a conspiracy to use false identities, including those of people incarcerated, to file nearly $2 million worth of false tax claims, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.
Named in the 11-count indictment are: Kenneth A. White, 47, Gwendolyn N. White, 31, Lacardaire M. Thedford, 47, all of Cleveland, and Lavelle G. Green, age unavailable, of Bedford Heights, Ohio.
“These defendants are charged with attempting to defraud the U.S. Treasury,” Dettelbach said. “They tried to take advantage of others to enrich themselves.”
“These individuals thought they had figured out a clever scheme to thwart the IRS and steal from the American taxpayers,” Enstrom said. “IRS will continue to vigorously pursue those who unjustly enrich themselves by preparing false claims for refunds. Protecting taxpayer money is a matter we take very seriously.”
Kenneth White recruited people to use as claimants on some false tax returns, often with the promise of substantial refunds. White and Green also obtained names, Social Security numbers and other personal identifiers of other people to use as claimants, including people in prison or jail. In some cases, this was done without the knowledge or consent of these other people, according to the indictment.
Gwendolyn N. White, at the direction of Kenneth White and for a fee, prepared and electronically filed 10 false income tax returns for the year 2008 in the name of the claimants. The total amount claimed in the returns was approximately $1,995,687, according to the indictment.
Greene and Thedford knew false returns were filed on their behalf, according to the indictment.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vasile Katsaros following an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentences will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.