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Press Release

Saint Paul Woman Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Using Stolen Identities to File Fraudulent Income Tax Returns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota
Yarbrough attempted to steal more than $500,000 in fraudulent tax refunds

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the sentencing of EBONY SHANTE YARBROUGH, 28, to two years in prison for aggravated identity theft. YARBROUGH pleaded guilty on August 12, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minn.

“Tax season is almost here and the sentencing of Ebony Yarbrough for filing false tax returns is a powerful reminder of what can happen when you decide to steal from honest taxpayers,” said Shea Jones, Special Agent in Charge of the St. Paul Field Office. “Through our partnership with the US Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement agencies, IRS Criminal Investigation’s Special Agents will continue the aggressive pursuit of those who would attempt to defraud America's tax system.”

According to the defendant’s guilty plea, between 2013 and 2015, YARBROUGH convinced friends and family members to allow her to file their state and federal income tax returns by claiming she knew how to prepare the returns and would charge less than a tax preparation service.

According to her guilty plea, YARBROUGH prepared taxpayers’ returns by claiming false Schedule C income characterized as “hair stylist,” “cleaner” or “exotic dancer.” Additionally, YARBROUGH included dependents on taxpayers’ returns by using stolen personal identifying information belonging to minors, enabling them to qualify for other tax credits. YARBROUGH’S scheme accounted for more than $500,000 in false state and federal claims.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS. The Minnesota Department of Revenue assisted in the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly A. Svendsen prosecuted the case.

Defendant Information:
Saint Paul, Minn.

• Aggravated Identity Theft, 1 count

• 24 months in prison
• Restitution in the amount of $298,054.01

Updated January 12, 2017