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Justice News

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

Friday, November 1, 2019

Richmond Woman Sentenced to Prison for Identity Theft and Tax Fraud

RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond woman was sentenced yesterday to approximately seven years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and failure to appear in court for a sentencing hearing.

According to court documents, Banita Brandise Saffore, 34, and her mother, co-defendant Charlene Saffore Cannon, ran a tax preparation service in which they systematically filed returns for clients that contained false representations as to the clients’ Schedule C income, dependents, and education expenses in order to obtain inflated refunds. As early as 2011, they began filing tax fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities and pocketing the refunds in their entirety. 

In addition to the prison sentence, Saffore was also ordered to pay $169,227 in restitution to her victims.

Saffore pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and identity theft charges, but then failed to appear at her sentencing in September 2018. Two other defendants have been sentenced for charges related to this scheme:

  Name, Age


Felony Conviction


Charlene Saffore Cannon, 53


Wire Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft

36 months in prison

Sherin Lee Saffore, 60


Making a False Personal Tax Return, Assisting in Preparation of False Tax Return

60 months of probation, nine months of home detention

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael C. Moore prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 3:18-cr-10, 3:18-cr-13, and 3:19-cr-003.

Identity Theft
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs
Updated November 1, 2019