Five Defendants Indicted In Tax Refund Schem
TALLAHASSEEFive defendants have been charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud in connection with the filing of false income tax returns. The 21-count indictment, unsealed today, also charges substantive counts of wire fraud, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft. The charges were announced by Pamela C. Marsh, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Dorothy Bailey, 51, and Phillip Walker, 23, of Tampa, along with Gabriela Huerta, 22, Cedric Page, 25, Darren Royal, 22, each of Tallahassee, are alleged to have conspired to fraudulently obtain tax refunds by filing false federal income tax returns. The indictment charges that between 2011 and 2014, members of the group prepared and filed fraudulent tax returns seeking more than $2.5 million in tax refunds. Members of the conspiracy created the fraudulent tax returns using taxpayer identification numbers and other personal identifying information stolen from deceased individuals and from residents of multiple Tallahassee apartment complexes. The conspirators also obtained identifying information from a Fort Bend County, Texas, website containing criminal court records.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, Bailey, Huerta, Page, Royal, and Walker are also charged with eleven substantive counts of wire fraud, based upon their electronic submission of the fraudulent returns. Bailey, Huerta, Page, Royal, and Walker are also charged with theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft based upon the unauthorized use of personal identifying information of victims as part of their scheme to commit wire fraud.
The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Coody.
An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.