Federal Agencies Announce Cracking Down On Identity Theft
United States Attorney Barbara McQuade and Erick Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, along with E. C. Woodson, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, and Jeffrey Frost, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service announced a crackdown on tax identity theft and other related charges.
Identity Theft is a serious crime which can result in great personal hardships to the victims of such crimes. The U. S. Attorney’s Office, IRS Criminal Investigations and our law enforcement partners are committed to stemming refund fraud related to identity theft by focusing on preventing, detecting and resolving identity theft cases as soon as possible.
U.S. Attorney McQuade stated, "Identity theft is a serious crime with many layers of harm to innocent victims, including financial loss, damaged credit, and violation of privacy. We hope that these enforcement actions will deter identity thieves from committing these kinds of crimes."
"ID Theft is our top priority and we will not rest until the identity thieves are caught and sent to jail", said Erick Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation.
Below are brief summaries of some of the criminal actions investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation, United States Postal Service, and United States Secret Service, that took place in the metropolitan Detroit area during the past several weeks.
∙ U.S. v. Drake Dodson - As alleged in the criminal complaint, Dodson was part of a conspiracy to file federal income tax returns using the names and Social Security numbers of individuals whose identities had been stolen. The returns requested refunds based on false information about tax withholdings and tax credits. The complaint further alleges that the conspirators obtained approximately $1.1 million in refunds.
∙ U.S. v. Brittany Goodson - As alleged in the criminal complaint Goodson was found to be in possession of numerous means of identification, i.e., names, social security numbers, dates of birth and other identifiers, bank routing and account numbers, and numerous prepaid debit cards, along with handwritten notes indicating that individual tax returns had been filed in some of the names. The matter was referred to the IRS/CI which determined that various false and fraudulent income tax returns had been filed using some of the means of identification found in her possession, which directed that fraudulent refunds be wire transferred to many of the prepaid debit card accounts also found in the defendant's possession. The affidavit specifically describes false refunds of $1,464, $3,933 and $4,094 linked to the information possessed by Goodson. She was charged with possession of means of identification with the intent to use them illegally and making false claims to the IRS.
∙ U.S. v. David Sneed - According to the criminal complaint, Sneed was found to be in possession of 29 United States Treasury income tax refund checks with a face value of $141,951.00, all made out to different payees, none of whom was Sneed, and all listing addresses of the payees in the state of Florida. The matter was referred to the U.S. Secret Service and the IRS/CI, and subsequent investigation determined that the checks were individual income tax refund checks issued as a result of the filing of fraudulent tax returns. The defendant admitted that he agreed to receive the checks for a Florida tax preparer and bring them to Michigan to cash them for a percentage of their face value. He was to be paid $100 per check for the service. He was charged with the unlawful possession of means of identification (names and addresses on the checks) to aid and abet or in connection with a federal felony, that is, making false claims to the IRS.
∙ U.S. v. George Harris - According to the affidavit underlying the complaint, Harris was found to be in possession of over 50 credit cards and over 100 pages containing various means of identification of others, including names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and addresses. Analysis of the seized items and subsequent investigation revealed that the defendant had no permission to possess the means of identification, and that at least 20 different false individual tax returns had been filed in the names found in the defendant's possession resulting in false refunds of almost $28,000 being issued without the knowledge or consent of the persons named as the taxpayers on the returns. The defendant was charged with possessing means of identification with the intent to commit or in connection with a federal felony, specifically, making false claims to the IRS.
∙ U.S. v. Valerie Butler and Gary Young - A federal indictment was returned charging Butler and Young, age 48 and 25 respectively, of Detroit, Michigan. The defendants were named in an indictment charging them with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government, one count of Identity Theft and multiple counts of Theft of Public Money. The twelve count indictment charges that from 2009-2011, Butler and Young conspired by working together to prepare false tax returns. Butler and Young claimed tax refunds in amounts greater than the taxpayer was entitled to receive. Butler and Young attempted to hide their involvement in the filing of the tax returns by failing to sign the return as the preparer. Butler and Young had all of the refund money deposited to bank accounts that they controlled. They split the refund money with some of the taxpayers, but most of the taxpayers never received any of the refund. Butler and Young filed at least 299 false returns with total false claims of approximately $1,760,000, and refunds issued of approximately $1,079,201.
IRS Criminal Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, and United States Secret Service need your help in preventing, detecting and resolving identity theft cases. Let us know as soon as possible if you suspect that you may have you're your identity compromised or know someone who is involved in ID Theft. Remember - Be careful with your personal information, especially with your social security number. It you have questions about ID Theft, go to the following websites: www.IRS.gov, www.postalinspectors.uspis.gov and www.secretservice.gov. It is important to keep in mind the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information over the internet. This also includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.