Louisiana Resident Sentenced for Involvement in Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
A resident of Hammond, Louisiana, was sentenced to more than six years in prison for his involvement in a stolen identity tax fraud scheme, Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite of the Eastern District of Louisiana announced today.
Corey Lewis, aka Coco, 37, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey of the Eastern District of Louisiana to serve 75 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Judge Zainey set a later date for ordering restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Lewis pleaded guilty on June 23 to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit mail fraud and theft of public money.
According to court documents, Lewis and his co-defendants conspired to prepare and file false income tax returns using stolen identities, including the victims’ names and social security numbers, to claim large tax refunds. The refund checks were mailed to addresses in Louisiana, including post office boxes that were opened by the co-conspirators. Once the checks were received, Lewis and others falsely endorsed and deposited the refund checks into bank accounts under their control. The co-conspirators then divided the proceeds of the refund checks amongst themselves.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Polite commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, who investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hayden Brockett and Dall Kammer of the Eastern District of Louisiana and Trial Attorney Lauren M. Castaldi of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.