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Press Release

St. Paul Woman Indicted For Filing Fraudulent Income Tax Returns For Friends And Family

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced a federal indictment charging EBONY SHANTE YARBROUGH, 27, for filing fraudulent income tax returns for friends and family and stealing the identities of minors to obtain tax refunds.[1] YARBROUGH is charged with nine counts of making false, fictitious and fraudulent claims and three counts of aggravated identity theft. The defendant appeared today before Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minn.

“IRS Criminal Investigation has made investigating refund fraud and identity theft a top priority,” said Shea Jones, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS - Criminal Investigation Division, St. Paul Field Office. “As our tax filing season winds down next week, today’s court action should serve as a warning to taxpayers, to be wary of any scheme to defraud the IRS and steal from American taxpayers. The IRS will continue to pursue those who unjustly enrich themselves by preparing false claims for refunds.”

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, 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. YARBROUGH would then obtain from the taxpayers W-2s and 1099s, as well as personal identifying information such as social security numbers, addresses and dependent information.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, as part of her scheme, YARBROUGH would prepare taxpayers’ returns by claiming false Schedule C income characterized as “hair stylist,” “cleaner” or “exotic dancer.” Additionally, YARBROUGH would include 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.

As Tax Day approaches, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reminds all Minnesotans that the deadline for filing federal income tax returns is Monday, April 18. Federal law enforcement is committed to pursuing those who commit tax fraud or attempt to defraud the tax system.

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 is prosecuting the case.


Defendant Information:                                                                                                                                                      


St. Paul, Minn.


  • Making False, Fictitious and Fraudulent Claims, 9 counts

  • Aggravated Identity Theft, 3 counts




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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600


The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated April 14, 2016