Alabama Bank Employee Sentenced to Prison for Role in Tax Refund Fraud
LaQuanta Clayton, a resident of Montgomery County, Ala., and a former bank teller employed by the Community Bank and Trust, was sentenced on Feb. 19, 2014, to serve 21 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for participating in a fraudulent tax refund scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally of the Justice Department's Tax Division and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. for the Middle District of Alabama. Clayton pleaded guilty in July 2013 to theft of government property.
According to court documents and statements made in open court, Clayton used her position as a bank teller to open bank accounts in the name of another individual without his knowledge, as well as to open banks accounts in the name of fictitious individuals for the purpose of receiving fraudulent tax refunds. Tarrish Tellis, the leader of the tax-fraud ring, directed Clayton to open multiple bank accounts in order to receive electronic deposits of fraudulent tax refunds. Clayton would facilitate the withdrawal of this money, then give it to Tellis and other individuals involved in the scheme. Clayton opened at least five bank accounts at Community Bank and Trust, which she used to receive fraudulent tax refunds. Tellis pleaded guilty to related crimes in October 2013. Approximately $452,225 in fraudulent tax refunds were directed to be deposited into these accounts, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) paid approximately $185,730 in fraudulent refunds, which were deposited into accounts Clayton opened and controlled. At her sentencing, Clayton was also ordered to pay restitution in this amount.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the IRS - Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorneys Michael Boteler and Charles Edgar Jr. of the Tax Division prosecuted the case. Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at the division website