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Press Release

Detroit Residents Plead Guilty To Defrauding IRS With Identities Of Deceased Individuals

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

Two Detroit residents pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and aiding and abetting in the use of false identification, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.

United States Attorney McQuade was joined in the announcement by Acting Special Agent in Charge Jarod Koopman, IRS Criminal Investigation.

Renita Adams and McAllen Jackson Knight, both of Detroit, entered their guilty pleas before U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn.

According to court records, Adams and Knight participated in a scheme with others to defraud the United States by using the names and Social Security numbers of recently deceased individuals to prepare fraudulent tax returns.   Hundreds of fraudulent 2010 tax returns were filed.  The returns sought refunds by making false claims for the Earned Income Credit, Education Credits and the Making America Work Credit.  The returns were transmitted electronically, utilizing public access internet connections from local hotels and coffee shops.  Three hundred and six fraudulent returns were transmitted using an internet account registered to Adams.  The refunds were directed to bank accounts that were established for the sole purpose of receiving the fraudulent refunds.  Knight caused some of these bank accounts to be opened by others to receive the deposits of the false tax refunds.   Adams helped distribute the proceeds of the fraudulently obtained tax refunds at the direction of her fellow participants and retained a portion of the proceeds for her own benefit.

“Due to the serious harm that is caused to anyone whose identity is stolen; identity theft is a top priority for the IRS-Criminal Investigation.  We will continue to detect and investigate these types of cases in order to protect taxpayers from being victimized," said Acting Special Agent in Charge Jarod Koopman,.

A sentencing hearing for Adams and Knight will be set by the court.  Wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000.  Use of false identification with the intent to commit a violation of federal law carries a maximum penalty of 15 years and/or a fine of $250,000.

The investigation of this case was conducted by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross MacKenzie and Kenneth Vert, Trial Attorney, Department of Justice, Tax Division.
Updated March 19, 2015