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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wesley Chapel Woman Sentenced to Five Years for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced Tavia Lamonica Ball to five years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit tax fraud and aggravated identity theft. As part of her sentence, the Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $405,169, the proceeds of fraudulently obtained tax refunds.

Ball pleaded guilty on August 4, 2014.

According to court documents, Ball was an employee of Amerigroup, a managed health care company operating in approximately 19 states nationwide. The company serves more than 4.5 million beneficiaries of state-sponsored health plans, including Medicaid. In her capacity at Amerigroup, Ball had access to the company’s member database, as well as members’ personally identifying information (PII), including dates of birth and Social Security numbers.

Beginning on an unknown date, Ball and others conspired to steal PII and electronically file fraudulent federal income tax returns in order to obtain refunds to which they were not entitled. The conspirators directed some of the fraudulently obtained refunds to be deposited onto reloadable debit cards and then purchased money orders and goods for their own benefit and the benefit of others, including an automobile. The government estimates that the actual loss associated with this conspiracy is at least $405,169. The conspirators filed false tax returns claiming at least $657,087.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mandy Riedel, with assistance from Assistant United States Attorney Shauna S. Hale.

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Updated February 5, 2015