You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Kentucky

Friday, January 20, 2017

Lexington Woman Sentenced to 61 Months for Identity Theft in Tax Refund Scheme

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A Lexington, Ky., woman, who stole personal identifying information of dozens of individuals and used that information to file tax returns that would generate tax refunds, was sentenced on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, to 61 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $81,423.90 to the Internal Revenue Service.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph M. Hood sentenced 30-year-old Yarelis Rios for Theft of Public Funds and Aggravated Identity Theft.


Rios previously admitted that from January 2012 to April 2013, she used the identifying information of numerous individuals that she obtained through the course of her employment at various apartment complexes in the Lexington area, to prepare fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. Specifically, Rios prepared and filed a total of 64 fraudulent tax returns in the names of different individuals for tax years 2011 and 2012 that requested refund amounts. The majority of the tax returns specified that the refunds were to be direct deposited into Rios’s personal bank account. In total, the 64 fraudulent tax returns filed by Rios requested tax refunds totaling $408,670 to be directed into bank accounts or onto debit cards associated with Rios. The Internal Revenue Service, however, was able to prevent 51 of these returns from being distributed by identifying them as fraudulent, so that only $81,423.90 in fraudulent federal tax refunds were issued.

Under federal law, Rios must serve 85 percent of her prison sentence and will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for 3 years following her period of incarceration.

Carlton S. Shier, IV, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Tracey D. Montaño, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; Jon Oldham, Resident Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service; and Mark Barnard, Chief of Police, Lexington Police Department, jointly announced the sentence. Assistant United States Attorneys Erin M. Roth and Kathryn M. Anderson represented the government.

Updated January 20, 2017