Northern California Woman Sentenced for Tax Refund Scheme
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Starsheka Mixon, 35, of Pinole, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to three years and one month in prison for a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
“The defendants used taxpayer information to enrich themselves by submitting false tax returns to the IRS,” said Tara Sullivan, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “This scheme went on for three years and victimized innocent taxpayers and the government. Identity theft can have a negative financial impact on taxpayers and can take years to repair. Taxpayers must be careful who they share their personally identifiable information with when choosing a tax return preparer.”
According to court documents, between January 2011 and June 2013, Mixon and co‑defendant Denna Chambers, 35, of Fairfield, conspired together and with others to fraudulently obtain tax refunds by filing false tax returns in the names of other people with the Internal Revenue Service. The tax returns included false statements about the taxpayers’ income, dependents, and occupations in order to obtain refunds and tax credits to which the taxpayers were not entitled, including the Earned Income Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. Some of the fraudulent tax returns used the name and personal information of individuals without their knowledge or consent.
The fraudulently obtained refunds were typically placed on prepaid debit cards controlled by Chambers, Mixon, or their associates. In their respective plea agreements in February 2018, Chambers and Mixon both admitted that in all, approximately 174 false federal income tax returns were filed seeking over $880,000 in tax refunds, of which approximately $477,348 was paid out by the IRS.
Judge England also ordered Mixon to serve two years of supervised release. She was ordered to self-surrender on October 18, 2018, to begin serving her sentence. Chambers is scheduled to be sentenced on September 13, 2018.
This case is the product of an investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shelley D. Weger is prosecuting the case.
For 2018, the IRS, the states, and the private-sector tax industry are working together to identify and apply safeguards to better protect taxpayers and fight identity theft. You can find identity theft protection for prevention, detection, and victim assistance at: www.irs.gov/identity‑theft-fraud-scams.