Alabama Tax Preparers Indicted for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
Two women from Phenix City, Alabama, were indicted yesterday for their involvement in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme (SIRF), Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Larry J. Wszalek for the Justice Department's Tax Division and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. for the Middle District of Alabama announced today following the unsealing of the indictment.
Teresa Floyd and her daughter, Lasondra Davis Miles, were charged with conspiracy to submit false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Floyd was also charged with theft of public money.
According to the superseding indictment, Floyd and Davis operated several tax preparation businesses in the Phenix City area, including T & L Tax Service and T & C Used Cars & Tax Service. Floyd and Davis obtained stolen identities and used those identities to file more than 900 federal income tax returns that claimed more than $2.5 million in tax refunds. To obtain the money from the scheme, the defendants applied for bank products from various financial institutions, which provided to the defendants blank check stock. The bank products allow a tax preparer to deduct their fees directly from a tax refund and then print out the remainder of the refund as a check. Floyd and Davis created fictitious identification documents and bills to provide to the financial institutions in an attempt to verify that the returns were filed in the names of legitimate customers. The defendants caused the fraudulent checks to be cashed at several businesses in Alabama and Georgia. Floyd also deposited fraudulent income tax refund checks into her bank account.
If convicted, the defendants face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the conspiracy to file false claims count, a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count, a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each theft of public money count and a mandatory sentence of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft counts. The defendants are also subject to fines, forfeiture and mandatory restitution if convicted.
The case was investigated by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorney Michael Boteler of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown for the Middle District of Alabama are prosecuting the case.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendants are 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.