Identity Thief Enters Guilty Plea
Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that Maurice Hester, of Milledgeville, Georgia, entered a plea of guilty on April 8, 2013, to Counts One, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Ten, and Eleven of a Superseding Indictment.
Count One of the Indictment charged Mr. Hester with Mail Fraud, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1341; Count Five charged Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1343. The defendant faces a statutory penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment, a maximum fine of $250,000, followed by a term of supervised release of 3 years.
Counts Six through Eight charged False Claims Against the Government, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 287. The maximum possible sentence is 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000 followed by a term of supervised release of 3 years.
Count Ten charged Theft of Stolen Government Money and Property, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 641. The maximum possible sentence is 10 years imprisonment with a maximum fine of $250,000.
Count Eleven charged Aggravated Identity Theft, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1028A. The mandatory minimum sentence is 2 years imprisonment, to run consecutive to all other sentences. The defendant is subject to a mandatory assessment of $100.00 for each count.
Mr. Hester entered a guilty plea to Filing False Claims against the Government and Wire Fraud by filing false income tax returns and fraudulent claims for refunds, including one claim for a fraudulent refund of over $600,000. In addition, Mr. Hester pleaded guilty to Aggravated Identity Theft by filing tax returns in the names of others and then transmitting false refunds into his own bank accounts. The Indictment also charged Mr. Hester with Mail Fraud for unlawfully diverting the mail of another taxpayer, so the he could wrongfully intercept a U.S. Treasury check.
“When Mr. Hester committed these acts of fraud and identity theft, he stole from honest tax-paying citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Moore. Sentencing is set for June 25, 2013.
The investigation was handled by the United States Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Graham Thorpe is prosecuting the case for the Government.
Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Sue McKinney, Public Affairs Specialist, United States Attorney’s Office at (478) 621-2601.