Loan Company Employee Sentenced to Prison for Stealing Identities Used to File False Tax Returns
A Montgomery County, Alabama, resident was sentenced to 48 months in prison for her role in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama.
Wendy Huff, 32, admitted that between January 2013 and August 2015, she worked at two loan companies in Montgomery, Alabama, and had access to the personal identifying information of customers. Huff agreed to steal information from her employers and provide it to her co-conspirator James Vernon Battle, 31. Battle used that information to file over 335 returns claiming more than $400,000 in fraudulent refunds and directed the requested tax refunds to prepaid debit cards and U.S. Treasury checks, which were mailed to addresses in Montgomery, including Huff’s residence. Battle also brought several U.S. Treasury tax refund checks to Huff’s workplace where she used her position to cash them. Huff returned half of the proceeds to Battle and kept the balance for herself.
Huff pleaded guilty in March to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Joel Dubina for the Middle District of Alabama sentenced Huff to three years of supervised release and ordered her to pay $102,322 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Battle is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 31.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Beck commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Secret Service, who investigated the case and Trial Attorneys Michael C. Boteler and Robert J. Boudreau of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan 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.