Former Alabama Bank Employee Sentenced to Prison for Role in Tax Refund Fraud
Montgomery, Alabama - LaQuanta Clayton, a resident of Montgomery, Ala., and a former bank teller employed by the Community Bank and Trust, was sentenced on February 19, 2014 to serve 21 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for participating in a fraudulent tax refund scheme, announced U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. for the Middle District of Alabama. Clayton previously pleaded guilty to theft of government property in July 2013.
According to court documents and statements made in open court, Clayton used her position as a bank teller to open bank accounts in the name of another individual without his knowledge and bank accounts in the name of fictitious individuals for the purpose of receiving fraudulent tax refunds. It is further alleged that Tarrish Tellis, also from Montgomery, directed Clayton to open multiple bank accounts in order to receive electronic deposits of fraudulent tax refunds. Clayton would facilitate the withdrawal of this money and would give the money deposited into these accounts to Tellis and other individuals involved in the scheme. A final disposition concerning Mr. Tellis’ involvement in this case is still pending.
Clayton opened a total of at least five bank accounts at Community Bank and Trust, which she used to receive fraudulent tax refunds. Approximately $452,225 in fraudulent tax refunds were directed to be deposited into these accounts and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) paid approximately $185,730 in fraudulent refunds, which were deposited into accounts Clayton opened and controlled. At her sentencing, Clayton was also ordered to pay restitution in this amount.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the IRS - Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorneys Michael Boteler and Charles Edgar, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/tax.
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