Employee of Check-Cashing Company Pleads Guilty to Involvement in Identity Theft Scheme
A Georgia woman pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for her involvement in a stolen identity tax refund fraud (SIRF) scheme, 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.
Lashelia Alexander worked for a check cashing business in a Columbus, Georgia, Walmart, according to court documents. In January 2014, Alexander was approached by several co-conspirators about cashing fraudulent tax refund checks issued in the names of third parties and in return, Alexander would receive a portion of the refunds. Alexander’s co-conspirators electronically filed fraudulent and unauthorized federal income tax returns for 2013 using the personal identifying information of numerous identity theft victims. Alexander’s co-conspirators printed out the fraudulent tax refund checks using check stock provided by a financial institution. Alexander cashed more than $100,000 in fraudulently obtained third-party refund checks containing forged endorsements.
Alexander’s sentencing date has not yet been scheduled. She faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for the wire fraud conspiracy.
The case was investigated by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorneys Michael C. Boteler and Gregory P. Bailey of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown for the Middle District of Alabama.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.