New York Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to File False Claims for Tax Refunds
Scheme Involved Filing False Tax Returns Using Names of Clients of NYC Human Resources Administration & Center for Employment Opportunities
WASHINGTON - A woman from the Bronx, N.Y., pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to making false claims and mail fraud, the Justice Department announced. The indictment alleged that between approximately May 1, 2003, and Feb. 28, 2005, Sharon Smith and others participated in a scheme to file false and fraudulent individual income tax returns in the names of individuals who were not entitled to the refunds that were claimed.
Sharon Smith, along with Odell Folks, Tanya Smith and Keith Terry were indicted on Nov. 26, 2008, for a scheme to file false claims for refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using names of clients of the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) and the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). Terry, a resident of Dallas, Ga., pleaded guilty to the false claims conspiracy and a false return charge on Jan. 29, 2009. On March 6, 2009, Folks and Tanya Smith pleaded guilty. Folks pleaded guilty to the false claims conspiracy and mail fraud counts as well as to a count of making and subscribing a false return. Tanya Smith pleaded guilty to the false claims conspiracy count.
The refund checks were mailed to addresses selected by Odell Folks. Folks, Sharon Smith, Tanya Smith and Keith Terry conspired to deposit the checks, conceal the nature, source, location, ownership or control of the proceeds, and keep all or a portion of the proceeds for themselves. The indictment further alleged that Folks failed to report the income that he received from his scheme on the income tax returns that he filed for 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John A. DiCicco thanked Tax Division Trial Attorney Mark F. Daly and Assistant U.S. Attorney Shreve Ariail of the Eastern District of New York. This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division office in Bridgeport, Conn., and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in New Haven, Conn.
More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division is available at www.usdoj.gov/tax.