Alabama Resident and U.S. Postal Worker Indicted in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme Claiming More than $1.5 Million in Refunds
An Alabama resident and U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee was arrested today after being indicted by a grand jury sitting in Montgomery, Alabama, on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, 14 counts of mail fraud, 14 counts of aggravated identity theft and 14 counts of embezzling mail, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama.
According to the allegations in the indictment, Elizabeth Grant of Seale, Alabama, was a USPS mail carrier. In 2013, Grant became involved in a stolen identity tax refund fraud conspiracy. Grant’s co-conspirators obtained stolen personal identification information from several sources, including from an Alabama state database, and then prepared and filed false federal income tax returns for tax year 2012. The co-conspirators directed the tax refund checks from the U.S. Treasury to be mailed to addresses located on Grant’s postal route. Grant would then be paid a fee to provide the checks to her co-conspirators. The conspirators allegedly filed more than 700 false returns that claimed more than $1.5 million in refunds.
If convicted, Grant faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the conspiracy count, 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud, five years in prison for each count of embezzling mail and a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft. She also faces substantial monetary penalties and restitution.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Beck Jr. commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation and the USPS Office of the Inspector General, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys Michael C. Boteler, Gregory Bailey and Robert J. Boudreau of the Tax Division and Assistant U. S. Attorney Jonathan Ross of the Middle District of Alabama, who are prosecuting this case.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.