Portland Woman Indicted for Tax Refund Fraud
Allegedly Sought $400,000 in Fraudulent Refunds
Portland, Ore. – Latisha L. Simmons, 34, of Portland, Oregon, has been indicted on sixteen counts of wire fraud, sixteen counts of filing false claims for tax refunds, and one count of aggravated identity theft, the Justice Department announced. Simmons made her initial appearance in court today before U.S. Magistrate Steven P. Logan in Phoenix, Arizona. The defendant was released on pre-trial conditions pending an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Oregon on February 20, 2014.
According to the 33-count indictment, Simmons electronically filed at least 52 false tax returns, requesting at least $400,000 in fraudulent refunds. Simmons is alleged to have obtained the names and Social Security numbers of other individuals, including those of a deceased person, in order to file false tax returns in their names. According to the indictment, Simmons had the fraudulent refunds deposited onto stored-value debit cards and mailed to her own address, addresses she could access or control, or deposited into bank accounts that she could access or control.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Simmons faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each false claims count, up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count, and a mandatory two-year sentence on the aggravated identity theft count. If convicted, she could be subject to fines, mandatory restitution, and a money judgment.
This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Task Force. Trial Attorneys Leslie A. Goemaat and Todd P. Kostyshak of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/tax.