THREE OHIOANS INDICTED IN CONSPIRACYTO DEFRAUD THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012
Public Affairs Officer
Women Unlawfully Used Stolen Identities to Obtain Fraudulent Tax Refunds
DAYTON – A federal grand jury has charged three women from Dayton with conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by using stolen identities belonging to mentally disabled adults in order to obtain fraudulent income tax refunds of approximately $170,000 between March 2008 and March 2009.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office, announced the indictment today.
Named in the indictment are:
* Karen T. Taylor, 50, Dayton, Ohio
* Laquanna R. Bradshaw, 30, Dayton, Ohio
* Tiffany L. Cole, 26, Dayton, Ohio
The alleged scheme involved the defendants and others obtaining the personal identifying information (names, dates of birth, and social security numbers) belonging to mentally disabled adults, among others, that was used to prepare false income tax returns in order to claim false income tax refunds.
Taylor was employed as an office cleaner and allegedly obtained the personal identifying information while performing her cleaning duties.
The indictment charges that Bradshaw and Cole filed false income tax returns in others names using this personal identifying information and each of the false income tax returns claimed substantial false claims for income tax refunds.
The false income tax returns filed in the names of the purported taxpayers allegedly reported significant income from work they allegedly performed as household help. No Form W-2’s were filed with these income tax returns. In addition, the false income tax returns allegedly contained fictitious dependants in order to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
The false claims for refunds were allegedly deposited into bank accounts controlled by the defendants. The defendants withdrew the false claims for refunds from the bank accounts and they spent the money for their own personal benefit.
The indictment charges Taylor with one count of conspiracy to obtain false claims for income tax refunds, six counts of willfully filing false claims, and six counts of identity theft.
Bradshaw is charged with one count of conspiracy to obtain false claims for income tax refunds, four counts of willfully filing false claims, and one count of identity theft.
Cole is charged with one count of conspiracy to obtain false claims for income tax refunds, six counts of willfully filing false claims, and five counts of identity theft.
Conspiracy to defraud the IRS is punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years; willfully filing false claims with the IRS is punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years; and identity theft is punishable by up to five years in prison. All of the above sentences are also punishable by a fine of $250,000.
“Refund fraud related to identity theft is becoming a growing threat to American taxpayers - and a growing priority for the IRS,” Stewart said. “I want to acknowledge the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Tabacchi, who is the lead prosecutor for the case, and the agents who are investigating this and similar cases.”
“The IRS is aggressively pursuing those who steal others' identities in order to file false returns,” said Steven Miller, IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. “Our cooperative work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office will help protect taxpayers in southern Ohio from being victimized by identity theft. The IRS is taking additional steps this tax season to further prevent, detect and resolve identity theft cases as soon as possible.”
“IRS Criminal Investigation has made investigating refund fraud and identity theft a top priority,” stated Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, IRS, Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “Filing fraudulent tax returns in the names of other individuals may result in significant harm to those individuals whose identities were stolen, as well as a monetary loss against the U.S. Treasury.”
Taylor and Bradshaw were arrested on January 25, 2012 and were released on bond following their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael R. Merz. Cole is currently incarcerated on unrelated forgery charges and will make her appearance before a Magistrate Judge in early February.
The case was presented to the grand jury by Assistant United States Attorney Brent Tabacchi following an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, based on information from the Miami Township Police Department and United States Secret Service.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.usdoj.gov/tax.