South Carolina Woman Sentenced to 51 Months in Tax Fraud Scheme
Montgomery, Alabama – Willie May Ford, 62, of Lamar, South Carolina, was sentenced today to 51 months in prison following her conviction on federal access device fraud charges, announced George L. Beck, Jr., United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.
On July 29, 2016, Ford pled guilty to one count of access device fraud. Evidence collected during the investigation established that on July 27, 2013, officers with the Auburn, Alabama, Police Department met with employees at a retail establishment in Opelika regarding counterfeit travelers checks that had been passed at the store. Ford and another individual used counterfeit travelers checks to purchase items at two separate stores, which led to their arrest.
After the arrest, numerous traveler’s checks, credit and debit cards, and pieces of personal identifying information were seized from the vehicle that Ford had traveled in to Alabama. A subsequent investigation revealed that the personal information of over 400 individuals was used to file fraudulent federal income tax returns.
“Willie Ford learned the hard way that IRS-Criminal Investigation has an unwavering pursuit to expose and investigate those who choose to commit identity theft and refund fraud,” stated Special Agent in Charge Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot. “The strategy will not change. Anyone that engages in similar schemes will face similar consequences.”
“Identity theft and tax fraud is costing the American taxpayers millions each year,” stated U.S Attorney beck. “I am proud of the work my office is doing with our partnering law enforcement agencies to seek out these criminals and protect our citizens.”
In addition to 51 months’ imprisonment, Ford was sentenced to a three-year term of supervised release following her period of imprisonment and restitution in the amount of $1,672,971.
The Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, United States Secret Service, and the Auburn, Alabama, Police Department investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Todd A. Brown prosecuted the case.