Former Certified Nursing Assistant and Co-Conspirators Sentenced to Prison for Identity Theft Tax Scheme
Kimberly Banks, Donalene Mosely and Arneshia Austin were sentenced today in Albany, Ga., to serve 192 months, 37 months and 21 months in prison, respectively, for crimes relating to filing fraudulent income tax returns using stolen identities, announced Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore for the Middle District of Georgia. After a weeklong jury trial, Banks was convicted on Jan. 14, 2014, of conspiring to file false federal income tax returns in the names of stolen identities, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and theft of government money. Mosely and Austin each pleaded guilty to conspiracy prior to trial. In addition to their terms of imprisonment, the court ordered Banks, Mosely and Austin to pay $275,134 in restitution and to serve three years supervised release.
According to court documents and evidence introduced at trial, Banks, who is a former certified nursing assistant, obtained the names and Social Security numbers of nursing home patients from her employer and conspired with Mosely, Austin and others to use the stolen identifying information to steal money from the government in the form of tax refunds. Several victims testified that they did not consent to the use of their names and Social Security numbers on these tax returns and testified that they did not receive any money from refunds generated by the false tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The tax returns at issue were filed from internet protocol addresses assigned to Banks, and the fraudulent tax refunds were deposited onto prepaid debit cards that were mailed to addresses belonging to Banks, Mosely, Austin and others. The evidence also revealed that Banks and others used the stolen proceeds to make payments on their car loans and on their mortgages, to throw a red-carpet party and to buy products online. During the course of the conspiracy, Banks and her co-conspirators prepared 187 fraudulent tax returns that claimed over $600,000 in false refunds.
The case was investigated by special agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigation with the assistance of the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office. Trial Attorneys Kimberly Shartar and Alexander Effendi of the Tax Division prosecuted the case.
More information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts can be found at the division website.