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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Man Pleads Guilty For Involvement In Identity Theft Scheme

Month 0, 2014

Montgomery, Alabama - Robert Bernard Walker (33), of Columbus, Georgia, pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of conspiracy to file false claims and one count of aggravated identity theft for his involvement in a stolen identity tax refund fraud (SIRF) scheme, announced U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. for the Middle District of Alabama, and Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Larry J. Wszalek for the Justice Department's Tax Division.

According to the court documents, between January 2011 and December 2013, Walker and his co-conspirators filed false tax returns using stolen identities. One co-conspirator obtained stolen identities from various sources, including the identities of employees from a Columbus, Georgia, company. In order to file the false tax returns, Walker and his co-conspirators obtained Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFIN) in the names of several sham tax businesses. The co-conspirators applied for bank products from various financial institutions, which mailed blank check stock and prepaid debit cards. The anticipated tax refunds were directed to financial institutions, which in turn issued the refunds using checks or prepaid debit cards. Walker and his co-conspirators cashed the fraudulent checks at several businesses located in Alabama. Walker also deposited fraudulent refund checks into a bank account he controlled.

Walker’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2015 where he will face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the conspiracy to file false claims count, and a mandatory sentence of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft counts. Walker is also subject to fines, forfeiture, and restitution.

The case was investigated by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General. Trial Attorneys Michael Boteler, Charles M. Edgar Jr. and Gregory Bailey of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case with the assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown for the Middle District of Alabama.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/tax

PRESS CONTACT: Clark Morris
Email: usaalm.press@usdoj.gov
Telephone: (334) 551-1755
Fax: (334) 223-7617

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Updated March 12, 2015