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Justice News

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

Friday, June 19, 2015

Albany Man Pleads Guilty To Filing 62 Fraudulent Tax Returns

Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia announced that Bryant T. Johnson, aged 26, of Albany, Georgia entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft on June 17, 2015 before the Honorable W. Louis Sands, Senior U. S. District Court Judge, in Albany.

In March 2012, a juvenile in the Dougherty County School System was interviewed about the theft of 65 “Student Emergency Contact Cards” from a local high school personnel office. The cards contained identity data, including date of birth and Social Security numbers, of students and were recovered from his backpack. The juvenile admitted that he had talked about using the stolen cards with Mr. Johnson. A search warrant of Mr. Johnson’s home recovered evidence which linked him to 62 online federal income tax returns linked to him via e-mail, hard copy address, or other data. The filings claimed a total of $419,028. Mr. Johnson actually received a total of $76,631. The police also seized numerous pre-paid debit cards in the name of 3rd parties that were funded with fraudulent income tax refunds.

For wire fraud, Mr. Johnson faces 20 years maximum imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, or both. For aggravated identity theft, he faces a mandatory minimum of two years imprisonment consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed, a fine of $250,000, or both. Sentencing is set for September 10, 2015 before Judge Sands.

“Identity theft has become one of the most pervasive crimes in our community and its results can be devastating to the victims who often lose their money and their property as well as suffer injury to their credit rating and their reputation.  It is my policy that my office shall prosecute the perpetrators of these types of crimes to the fullest extent of the law,” said United States Attorney Michael J. Moore.

"IRS Criminal Investigation has made investigating refund fraud and identity theft a top priority and we will vigorously pursue those who undermine the integrity of the U.S. tax system," stated Acting Special Agent in Charge, James E. Dorsey.  "Individuals who devise schemes to steal public money face federal prosecution and federal prison."                                

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the Dougherty County School System Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jim Crane is prosecuting the case on behalf of the Government.                      

Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey at the United States Attorney’s Office at 478-621-2603.

Updated February 4, 2016