News and Press Releases

Memphis Residents Charged in Tax and Identity Theft Scheme

October 27, 2010

Memphis, TN - Rhonda T. Mayweather, 33, and Nakita J. Brooks, 27, both of Memphis, Tennessee, have been indicted by a federal grand jury announced Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.

Mayweather was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, six counts of filing false claims against the government, six counts of identity theft, two counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of smuggling goods into the United States and one count of mail fraud. Brooks was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, six counts of filing false claims against the government, and six counts of identity theft.

According to the indictment, Mayweather and Brooks devised a scheme to obtain payment of fraudulent refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by filing false 2005, 2006, and 2007 federal income tax returns in the names of individuals whose identities they had stolen. The false returns claimed refunds that were deposited into bank accounts controlled by Mayweather and Brooks. The indictment states that they obtained names, social security numbers and other identifying information of various individuals, both alive and deceased, from the Social Security Death Index and from an underground website. They then allegedly prepared fictitious Forms W-2, claiming false wages and withholding amounts and used these forms to file income tax returns with the IRS using online tax software claiming tax refunds that the individuals named on the returns were not entitled to receive. The refunds were either directly deposited into the bank accounts Mayweather and Brooks set up, electronically deposited through a third party bank as a Refund Anticipation Loan, or deposited onto a re-loadable debit card.

Additionally, Mayweather was charged with smuggling 100 counterfeit United States Postal Money Orders into the United States. She was also charged with one count of mail fraud for arranging to receive via Federal Express from Nigeria, twenty-three (23) counterfeit Bank of America Cashier’s Checks, 100 counterfeit United States Postal Money Orders, and eighty-five (85) counterfeit Visa Traveler’s Checks.

This investigation was conducted by IRS-Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Fabian will represent the government.

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Note: An indictment is a form of accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.



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