Computer consultant sentenced to prison for access device fraud scheme
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia
ATLANTA – Kevin Kirton has been sentenced for running an access device fraud scheme that involved stealing over $600,000 in fraudulent tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service.
“Kirton created technical ‘solutions’ to conduct his own fraud schemes and help others commit fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “Every thief believes they have developed a new undetectable method to steal. As in this case, they will be caught, prosecuted, and face years in federal prison to contemplate their failed endeavor.”
“Kirton was part of a significant tax fraud scheme and his operation defrauded American taxpayers by using stolen identities to solicit the issuance of fraudulent tax refunds,” said Special Agent in Charge, James E. Dorsey, IRS. “This sentencing should serve as a warning to other would-be schemers. As tax filing season continues, those attempting similar thefts from the US Treasury should be aware, Special Agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation will continue the aggressive pursuit of anyone attempting to defraud America's tax system."
“As evidenced by the length of the prison sentence in this case, fraud is a pernicious crime, especially when it involves identity theft.” said U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Steven R. Baisel. “The Secret Service along with our federal partners will continue to aggressively investigate and bring to justice those attempting to compromise our financial infrastructure.”
“The egregious criminal conduct in this case resulted in the theft of both identities and tax refunds, and shows once again that crime does not pay,” stated Kyle A. Myles, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG). “We continue to work together with our law enforcement partners to combat financial crime -- and its impact on our nation’s banks and financial institutions.”
According to U.S. Attorney Erskine, the charges and other information presented in court: Kevin Kirton created a computer program to file fraudulent federal income tax returns with the IRS. The computer program stored stolen identities and could be used to submit fraudulent tax returns in the names of stolen identities to the IRS, effectively automating stolen identity tax refund fraud. The computer program could be accessed remotely via the internet to prepare fraudulent tax returns. The resulting fraudulent tax refunds were deposited onto prepaid debit cards in the names of identity theft victims.
To help conceal the fraud activity, Kirton developed techniques to hide Internet Protocol addresses so the IRS could not trace a fraudulent tax return back to one particular origination point. Kirton also set up a bootleg phone system that he believed would not be susceptible to wiretaps to communicate with other criminals.
A search warrant was conducted at Kirton’s residence and law enforcement discovered, among other things, hundreds of prepaid debit cards in the names of identity theft victims and numerous fake driver’s licenses. Law enforcement also found a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration information booklet titled “Income and Withholding Verification Processes are Resulting in the Issuance of Potentially Fraudulent Tax Refunds.”
While Kirton’s case was pending and he was out on bond, he telephonically contacted an associate who was detained at the Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility, seeking to influence the testimony of a cooperator in his case. Recorded jail calls between Kirton and his jailed associate show that Kirton repeatedly sought to convey veiled threats to the cooperator through the jailed associate. Due to this conduct, Kirton’s bond was revoked and he was detained pending resolution of his case.
Kevin Kirton, 44, of Dallas, Georgia, was sentenced on March 14, 2022, to six years, nine months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $629,551. On June 17, 2021, he pleaded guilty to access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samir Kaushal and Alana Black and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Zack Howard prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.
Updated March 18, 2022