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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 22, 2013

East Bay Residents Charged In Tax Fraud Scheme

OAKLAND – Jessika Green, Khyber Law, and Starkisha Benson were charged in a 22 count indictment on August 20, 2013, with wire fraud, conspiracy to file false claims, filing false claims, effecting fraudulent transactions with an access device, theft of public money, and aggravated identity theft, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.

According to the indictment, Green, Law, and Benson, of Oakley, Antioch, and Berkeley, Calif., respectively, filed or helped others file false claims with the IRS requesting refunds in the names of other people. As part of the scheme, the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly procured the names and identities of individuals through illegal means or by agreement with participants in the scheme. The filed returns claimed falsely wages and withholdings. The defendants also requested that the IRS transmit the fraudulent refunds into accounts linked to debit cards. These debit cards were used to access the proceeds derived from the conspiracy.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C § 1343, is twenty years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of conspiracy to file false claim, in violation of 18 U.S.C § 286, is ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of filing false claims, in violation of 18 U.S.C § 287, is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of effecting fraudulent transactions with access device, in violation of 18 U.S.C § 1029(a)(5), is fifteen years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty for theft of public money, in violation of 18 U.S.C § 641, is ten years in prison, consecutive to the underlying felony and a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty for aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C § 1028A, is a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison, and a fine of $250,000 plus restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Newman is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

 

 

Updated November 18, 2014