Six Indicted in Alabama in Million-dollar Conspiracy to Use Stolen Identities to Obtain Tax Refunds
A federal grand jury in Montgomery, Ala., returned a superseding indictment charging Antoinette Djonret, Angelique Djonret, Tabitha Stinson, Melba Wilson, Chantresa Hayes and Corey Means with conspiring to file false tax returns using stolen identities, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. The 49-count indictment charges Djonret with filing false claims, theft of government funds, access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and possession of unauthorized access devices. Angelique Djonret is also charged with filing false claims, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. Corey Means and Chantresa Hayes are charged with theft of government funds.
Antoinette Djonret had earlier been charged with making false claims in a criminal complaint that was filed on February 22, 2012, and in an indictment that was filed on March 28, 2012. According to court documents, Antoinette Djonret obtained stolen identities from state of Alabama databases. Antoinette Djonret and her sister, Angelique Djonret, filed false tax returns using the stolen identities and directed the false tax returns to prepaid debit cards. Many of the tax returns were filed from Antoinette Djonret’s residence. The superseding indictment further alleges that each of the six defendants recruited individuals to purchase prepaid debit cards and to provide the cards to the defendants. They then had the tax refunds deposited onto the cards. In total, the defendants filed over 800 false tax returns and requested over $1.2 million in tax refunds.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendants face maximum potential prison terms of 10 years for the conspiracy to file false claims, 5 years for each false claims count, 10 years for each theft of government funds count, 15 years for access device fraud count, 10 years for the possession of unauthorized access devices count, and a mandatory 2-year term for the aggravated identity theft counts. The defendants are also subject to fines and mandatory restitution if convicted.
The case was investigated by special agents of the IRS - Criminal Investigation. Trial attorneys Jason H. Poole and Michael Boteler of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and Assistant United States Attorney Todd Brown are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/tax .