Alabama Jury Convicts Current and Former Corrections Officers of Identity Theft and Tax Fraud
Following a week-long trial, a jury in the Middle District of Alabama convicted Bryant Thompson and Quincy Walton of conspiracy to defraud the United States on Jan. 24, 2014, 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. Thompson, an Alabama corrections officer, was also convicted of seven counts of wire fraud and seven counts of aggravated identity theft, and Walton, a former Alabama corrections officer, was also convicted of one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to evidence introduced at trial, Thompson was assigned to the shift clerk position at an Alabama state prison, which gave him access to the personal identifying information of every inmate in the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections, past and present. Thompson and Walton, his former co-worker, used information stolen from the databases to file false federal income tax returns in the names and Social Security numbers of inmates. All of the inmates testified that they did not consent to the filing of the tax returns in their names, and many testified that they did not know tax returns were filed in their names until being called as witnesses in this trial.
According to the evidence introduced at trial, the investigation revealed that several internet protocol (IP) addresses were used to file the fraudulent tax returns, including one IP address directly assigned to Thompson’s residence at the time certain tax returns were filed. Circumstantial evidence tied both Thompson and Walton to the other IP addresses.
Also according to evidence introduced at trial, Thompson and Walton directed stolen tax refunds onto prepaid debit cards and requested other refunds in the form of U.S. Treasury Checks. Evidence showed that the cards and checks were mailed to several addresses associated with Thompson and Walton in Montgomery and Prattville, Ala., and that several of the checks were cashed at a local retail store by Walton’s uncle and at a local check casher. During this time, Thompson purchased a new paint job and new rims for his SUV and later purchased a BMW.
At sentencing, Thompson and Walton face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for the conspiracy count and a statutory minimum of two years in prison for each aggravated identity theft conviction. Thompson also faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count. In addition to prison time, Thompson and Walton also face the possibility of fines and restitution to the IRS and other victims. Their sentences will be determined by a federal judge after consideration of the sentencing guidelines and statutory factors.
The case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Justin Gelfand, Jason Poole and Alexander Effendi of the Tax Division, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama.