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Press Release

Three Alabama Men Sentenced for Participation in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Three Montgomery, Alabama, men were sentenced to prison today in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama for their participation in a stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF) tax scheme, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama.

Cruz Castillo Burnett, 28, Jacorey Giddens, 27, and Rodrickus Howard, 24, were each sentenced to serve 40 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  Burnett was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $209,041, Giddens was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $151,260 and Howard was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $220,136.  Each defendant previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government and one count of aggravated identity theft.          

According to plea documents, Burnett, Giddens and Howard conspired to acquire the names, social security numbers and dates of birth of individuals without their knowledge or consent.  The indictment alleged that from March 2011 to April 2013, the defendants used these stolen identities to file more than 500 false federal income tax returns that claimed refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  As part of the scheme, the defendants requested more than $1 million in refunds from the IRS.  The defendants received the refunds in various forms, including U.S. Treasury checks, direct deposits to bank accounts and direct deposits onto prepaid debit cards in the names of identity theft victims.  

Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Beck Jr. commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys Gregory P. Bailey and Michael C. Boteler of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown of the Middle District of Alabama, who prosecuted the case.         

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

Updated May 18, 2016

Identity Theft
Press Release Number: 15-434