News and Press Releases

Memphis Resident Sentenced To 14 Years In Federal Prison
For Tax And Identity Theft Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2012

Memphis, TN – Rhonda Mayweather, 34, of Memphis, Tennessee, has been sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla to serve 14 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for her involvement in a conspiracy to defraud the United States through the filing of fraudulent tax returns, announced United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee Edward L. Stanton, III. Judge McCalla also ordered Mayweather to pay $218,577.61 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and $6,200 to individual victims of the scheme. Additionally, Mayweather was told that she was not allowed to prepare any income tax returns for other individuals.

Mayweather pled guilty on February 10, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, two counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of smuggling, and one count of mail fraud. Mayweather and a co-conspirator, Nakita J. Brooks, were indicted on October 21, 2010.

According to the indictment, Brooks and Mayweather devised a scheme to obtain payment of fraudulent refunds from the IRS by filing false 2005, 2006, and 2007 federal income tax returns in the names of individuals whose identities they had stolen. Brooks and Mayweather 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 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 were deposited into accounts controlled by Brooks and Mayweather. Brooks and Mayweather attempted to obtain over two million dollars by filing over 500 fraudulent refunds during the scheme. In addition to the filing of fraudulent tax returns, Mayweather smuggled counterfeit postal money orders, traveler’s checks and cashier’s checks from Nigeria.

United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton, III, said: “This 14-year sentence demonstrates our unwavering commitment to protecting the interests of law-abiding taxpayers. We will continue to partner with the IRS and bring to justice the criminals who engage in such brazen and fraudulent conduct, ensuring that the only citizens who receive tax refunds are those who are entitled to them.”

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

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