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Defendant Pleads Guilty to $400,000 Tax Refund Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. – Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division, and U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall for the District of Oregon, announced today that Latisha L. Simmons, formerly of Portland, Oregon, pleaded guilty before the U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown to three counts involving tax refund fraud. Simmons pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, one count of false claims against the government, and one count of aggravated identity theft. She was indicted in December 2013, and was arrested in January 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona, where she currently resides.

According to the plea agreement, Simmons filed more than 50 false federal income tax returns from Portland, Oregon. She filed them during a two-week period in January 2012, requesting a total of more than $400,000 in fraudulent income tax refunds. Simmons obtained names, social security numbers, and dates of birth for other individuals, which she used to file fraudulent income tax returns claiming fictitious wages and inflated withholding amounts to generate fraudulent refunds of up to $8,400 per return. Simmons caused the fraudulent refunds to be direct-deposited onto stored-value debit cards and mailed to her own address or other addresses she controlled. Simmons has agreed to pay full restitution to the IRS.

Simmons faces maximum sentences of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud conviction, five years for the false claims against the government count, and a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence for the aggravated identity theft conviction. Sentencing has been scheduled for August 27, 2014.

This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Task Force. Trial Attorneys Leslie A. Goemaat and Lori A. Hendrickson 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.

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