Georgia Couple Convicted of Conspiring to Defraud Irs and Filing False Returns in South Florida Refund Scheme
Elmo Antonio George and Nasheba Necia Hunte, formerly from the U.S. Virgin Islands and currently residents of Villa Rica, Ga., were found guilty today by a federal jury in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., of conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and filing false individual income tax returns for 2005 and 2006, the Justice Department and the IRS announced.
According to the evidence introduced at trial, George and Hunte created shell corporate entities, Winco Holdings Inc., Dikingdom Inc. and Ministry of Dikingdom Inc., in the state of Florida. They also opened business checking and credit card accounts in the names of the entities. They used an internet payroll service, Paycycle Inc., to create false documents and returns that they filed with the IRS containing fictitious salaries, losses and tax withholdings from Winco Holdings Inc. claiming that they were the only officers and employees of the company.
The evidence also showed that in their tax filings, the defendants reported that they earned over $4 million dollars in income from Winco and paid over $1.6 million in withholdings to the IRS. No tax withholdings were ever paid over to the IRS and the defendants submitted a fictitious promissory note and a $1.6 million fraudulent check in an attempt to continue their scheme. For 2005, George received a refund totaling $229,305 to which he was not entitled. George deposited the refund into the defendants’ joint bank account in the name of Dikingdom Inc. which they used to purchase, among other things, a house, furniture, car, jewelry and airline tickets. To conceal the scheme, Hunte purchased the house in Villa Rica on March 21, 2006, and deeded it to George on the same day. On Sept. 26, 2006, George transferred the house to the Overseer of Dikingdom, a name associated with his purported ministry, and thereafter claimed the house was a church.
According to the evidence presented at trial, less than one week after IRS-Criminal Investigation tried to contact the defendants, Hunte changed her home address in her employment contact documents from Villa Rica to a non-existent address. When IRS-Criminal Investigation special agents attempted contact with Hunte, she affirmatively denied who she was to the agents.
George and Hunte each face a potential maximum prison sentence of 11 years and a fine of up to $750,000 when they are sentenced.
This case was investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Atlanta Field Office. Trial Attorneys Rebecca Perlmutter and Chad Edgar of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, who prosecuted the case, thanked Wilfredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, for his office’s assistance.