Defendants in Alabama Plead Guilty in Two Separate Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Schemes
Three defendants in separate cases involving the use of stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns have pleaded guilty in the Middle District of Alabama, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.
Crystal Sayles, of Montgomery County, Ala., pleaded guilty today to one count each of filing false claims, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft. She also agreed to the forfeiture of a Mercedes Benz as part of her plea agreement. Sayles was indicted on 36 different counts on Jan. 19, 2012. According to her plea agreement, between January 2010 and July 2011, Sayles and others were involved with the filing of at least 482 fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities. These returns sought at least $2,181,879 in tax refunds. All of the returns had been filed through a tax preparation business called Simmons Financial, which Sayles opened in the name of another individual in order to conceal her own involvement. The indictment alleged that the refunds were often directed to prepaid debit cards and in the plea agreement, Sayles admitted to using a debit card loaded with a fraudulently obtained refund to receive cash.
In a separate case, Chiquanta Davis and Terrence Davis, both of Elmore County, Ala., each pleaded guilty to crimes related to another stolen identity refund fraud scheme. On May 11, 2012, Terrence Davis pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public funds, while on May 14, 2012, Chiquanta Davis pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims, theft of public funds, and aggravated identity theft. Chiquanta Davis also agreed to the forfeiture of a Cadillac Escalade as part of her plea agreement. Both had been charged in a superseding indictment filed on Jan. 19, 2012.
According to her plea agreement, Chiquanta Davis had been involved in stolen identity refund fraud since at least December 2009. In January 2010, she opened a bank account that received numerous fraudulently obtained tax refunds. A total of $1,458,600 in refunds were directed to this account in 2010, although many were intercepted and stopped by the IRS. Then in 2011, Chiquanta Davis assisted with the filing of numerous false tax returns using stolen identities. Between January and June of 2011, 192 false returns requesting $769,223 in refunds were filed from her home. These refunds were directed to various bank accounts, including her own account. According to his plea agreement, Terrence Davis’s bank accounts received over $100,000 in false tax refunds and he used a portion of the stolen proceeds for his own use.
Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally of the Justice Department’s Tax Division thanked Special Agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation for investigating the cases, Tax Division Trial Attorneys Jason H. Poole and Michael Boteler, who prosecuted the cases, and George L. Beck, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, and his entire office for their assistance.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/tax.