Leader of Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Ring Sentenced to Jail
Christopher Davis, of Montgomery, Ala., was sentenced today to serve 60 months in prison, announced Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally of the Justice Department's Tax Division and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. for the Middle District of Alabama. Davis was also ordered to forfeit $300,559, which represented the proceeds of his offenses. Davis previously pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents and evidence from the sentencing, Davis was the leader of a multi-state tax fraud conspiracy that operated by filing false tax returns using stolen identities, causing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue tax refunds. Davis obtained personal identifying information from different sources, including a medical facility in Alabama. He and a co-conspirator, Kenneth Blackmon, who was sentenced to serve 51 months in prison in April 2013, would then file false tax returns using the stolen identities in which they would direct the fraudulently claimed tax refunds to be deposited onto prepaid debit cards.
According to court documents, Davis recruited Blackmon and several other individuals involved in the conspiracy to act as paid runners to help with obtaining the refund money. Davis and Blackmon, who both lived in Alabama, would organize trips to Georgia and South Carolina during which the runners would use the debit cards loaded with fraudulently obtained tax refunds to make cash withdrawals at numerous locations across both states, and then provide the cash to Davis and Blackmon. The runners would also buy new debit cards for use in the ongoing scheme. In his plea agreement, Davis admitted that at one point during the scheme he had over 600 stolen identities and 200 prepaid debit cards with him in Georgia.
The case was investigated by special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorney Jason Poole for the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown prosecuted the case. The Alabama Department of Pardons and Paroles and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department in Georgia provided assistance in the investigation.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at the division website.