Hammond Woman Sentenced for Role in Tax Fraud Scheme
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that RAVEN HUGHES, age 28, of Hammond, was sentenced today after previously pleading guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft for engaging in a multi-year tax fraud scheme.
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan sentenced HUGHES to 36 months imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. Additionally, HUGHES was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $119,050 to the Internal Revenue Service.
According to court documents, HUGHES obtained the name and social security number of unsuspecting individuals and used that information without their knowledge or authorization to prepare false tax returns that claimed large tax refunds. The refund checks were mailed to numerous Post Office Boxes throughout Louisiana that were opened by HUGHES, as well as to HUGHES’s residence in Hammond. Refund checks were also sent electronically via wire into one of HUGHES’s four bank accounts.
Once the tax refund checks were received, HUGHES falsely endorsed and cashed the checks. HUGHES also arranged for some of the refunds to be transmitted electronically into bank accounts under her control. In total, HUGHES caused not fewer than 148 federal income tax returns to be submitted in the names of at least 103 different individuals without their knowledge or authorization. As a result of the conduct described above, between 2009 and 2012 HUGHES received approximately $199,050.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg was in charge of the prosecution.