Defendants Indicted For Filing False Federal Tax Returns, Theft Of Government Property, And Identify Theft
Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that a federal grand jury in Macon, Georgia has charged Michelle Blankenship of Upson County, Georgia, age 32, and Edna Yvonne Orr Goff of Sumter County, Georgia, age 37, in a multi-count Indictment with Conspiracy to Defraud the Federal Government in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 286. Ms. Blankenship is also charged in Counts two (2) through fourteen (14) with Theft of Public Money in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 641 and Section 2. Ms. Blankenship and Ms. Goff are charged in Counts fourteen (14) through seventeen (17) with Identity Theft in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1028A and (2).
If convicted of the conspiracy charge, Ms. Blankenship and Ms. Goff face a maximum possible sentence of five (5) years incarceration. A conviction for theft of government property carries a maximum possible sentence of ten (10) years for each charge. Each count of Identity Theft carries a maximum possible sentence of two (2) years imprisonment.
The Indictment alleges that the defendants engaged in a scheme and conspiracy to defraud the United States by filing false federal income tax returns using names and identity information of other individuals without their knowledge.
An indictment is only an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial.
Ms. Goff entered a plea of not guilty on March 25, 2013, and Ms. Blankenship, a former employee of the Internal Revenue Service, entered a plea of not guilty on April 9, 2013. Both defendants are awaiting trial, which will be scheduled by the Court.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, with the assistance of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charles L. Calhoun.
Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Sue McKinney, Public Affairs Specialist, United States Attorney’s Office at (478) 621-2601.