Alabama Woman Indicted for Using Stolen Identities to Obtain Tax Refunds
Crystal Sayles was arrested today on charges stemming from her use of stolen identities to commit federal tax fraud, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. On Jan. 19, 2012, a federal grand jury in Montgomery, Ala., returned a 36-count indictment charging Sayles with filing false claims, wire fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to the indictment, Sayles used stolen identities to file false tax returns that fraudulently claimed refunds and to obtain refund anticipation loans. Sayles directed some of the false tax refunds to prepaid debit cards and used those cards to withdraw funds.
“This office will continue to vigorously prosecute those criminals who steal others’ identities, file false tax returns using those stolen identities and steal the tax refunds,” said U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama George L. Beck. “We will continue to do all possible under the law to protect these unsuspecting victims of identity theft.”
“The Tax Division is dedicated to protecting the personal identities of U.S. taxpayers and prosecuting criminals who steal those identities to commit federal crimes, including tax refund fraud,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John A. DiCicco of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “We are working closely with the IRS and the U.S. Attorneys to protect the public from these crimes.”
“The IRS is aggressively pursuing those who steal others’ identities in order to file false returns,” said Steven Miller, IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. “Our cooperative work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Tax Division will help protect taxpayers in Alabama from being victimized by identity theft. The IRS is taking additional steps this tax season to further prevent, detect and resolve identity theft cases as soon as possible.”
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Sayles faces a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison for each false claims count, 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count, 15 years in prison for the access device fraud count, and a mandatory 2-year sentence for each aggravated identity theft count. She is also subject to fines and mandatory restitution if convicted.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation. Tax Division trial attorneys Jason H. Poole and Michael Boteler and Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/tax.