Alabama Man Pleads Guilty to Involvement in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON – A Montgomery County, Alabama, resident pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft for his involvement in a stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF) scheme, U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr., of the Middle District of Alabama and acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division announced today.
According to court documents, Jerome Marcel Newton obtained the personal identifying information of others in various ways, including by paying other individuals to collect multiple identities or by recruiting people to provide their identities to him. Although Newton resided in Alabama, a number of the identities were of people living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Newton also obtained the identity information of prison inmates from jail records. In 2011, Newton used the identities he obtained to file false tax returns, directing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to deposit the fraudulent refunds claimed on those returns into bank accounts that he controlled or onto prepaid debit cards. Some of the prepaid debit cards were then mailed to addresses within the Middle District of Alabama.
Newton’s sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled. At sentencing, Newton faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the mail fraud count and a mandatory two-year minimum sentence and a $250,000 fine for the aggravated identity theft count. Newton will also be subject to mandatory restitution.
U.S. Attorney Beck and acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo commended special agents of the IRS – Criminal Investigation and officers of the Sheriff’s Office for Douglas County, Georgia, who investigated the case, as well as Trial Attorneys Jason H. Poole and Michael C. Boteler of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan S. Ross, who are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.