Former Healthcare Employee Pleads Guilty to Participating In Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Conspiracy Using Patient Information
A Montgomery, Alabama, resident pleaded guilty today to one count of a multi-object conspiracy to commit identity theft and wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama.
According to court documents, Alana Wells worked at a healthcare company where she had access to patient information protected from disclosure under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Wells admitted that she stole the names, dates of birth and social security numbers of patients from her employer’s database and provided these identities to co-conspirator Fredrick Hill. Hill then provided the stolen personal identification information to another co-conspirator, Christopher Davis, who, along with others, used it to file fraudulent federal tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requesting tax refunds. Hill and Davis were previously prosecuted and sentenced to 74 months and 60 months in prison, respectively.
A date for Wells’ sentencing hearing has not yet been set. She faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy and a mandatory two-year prison sentence for aggravated identity theft, as well as a term of supervised release and monetary penalties.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Beck commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case and Trial Attorneys Jason H. Poole and Kathryn A. Kimball of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan S. Ross of the Middle District of Alabama, who are prosecuting this case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.