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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 9, 2015

Grand Jury Indicts Woman For Tax And Identity Theft Scheme

BATON ROUGE, LA –United States Attorney Walt Green announced the filing of criminal charges against another individual accused of committing theft of government property and aggravated identity theft in the Baton Rouge area, as part of an ongoing effort by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division, and the United States Department of Justice’s Tax Division to combat stolen identity refund fraud and other tax fraud schemes.

LAGUARDIA COSTON, age 27, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was charged in an indictment with four counts of theft of government property; four counts of receiving stolen government property; and two counts of aggravated identity theft.  If convicted, the defendant faces a significant term of imprisonment, fines, restitution, and the forfeiture of the proceeds from the alleged scheme.

The indictment alleges that COSTON obtained numerous federal tax refunds, via checks deposited with and electronic wire transfers to bank accounts she controlled, knowing that the refunds belonged to other taxpayers and that she was not entitled to the funds.  According to the indictment, COSTON also knowingly possessed and used the taxpayers’ names and social security numbers.

U.S. Attorney Green stated:  “This indictment reflects our continuing commitment to stop identity theft and tax fraud schemes.  We are dedicated to aggressively pursuing such criminality wherever it is found.  I commend the hard work of the IRS-CI and the prosecutors working on these important matters.”

“We will continue to work aggressively with the United States Attorney's Office to protect innocent taxpayers and preserve the integrity of our tax system.” said Jerome R. McDuffie, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation.  “We will vigorously pursue fraudulent refund claims and those individuals who engage in identity theft.  Protecting taxpayer’s money and personal information will remain one of our core missions.”

This matter is being handled by the IRS Criminal Investigation.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul L. Pugliese.

Updated April 10, 2015