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Press Release

Cedar Rapids Woman Sentenced to More Than Five Years’ in Prison for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft

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

A woman who filed more than 150 fraudulent tax returns over a three year period and stole the identity of a woman to file a fraudulent tax return was sentenced on October 13, 2015, to more than five years in federal prison.

Gwendolyn Murray, age 34, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after a June 8, 2015, guilty plea to one count of theft of government property and one count of aggravated identity theft.

In a plea agreement, Murray admitted she, without lawful authority, used another person’s name, social security number, and signature on a fraudulent tax return she filed in January 2012.  Murray further admitted she then stole from the government more than $6,000 when she cashed the refund check.  She also admitted to filing more than 150 fraudulent tax returns between April 2010 and April 2013, claiming refunds to which the taxpayer named in the return was not entitled.  Her criminal activity resulted in the Internal Revenue Service paying out more than $350,000 in fraudulent tax refunds to her.

Murray was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade.  Murray was sentenced to sixty-one months’ imprisonment.  A special assessment of $200 was imposed, and she was ordered to make $386,515 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.  She must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

“Investigating refund fraud and identity theft is a priority for IRS Criminal Investigation,” said Special Agent Andrew M. Thornton, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation.  “Stealing identities and filing false tax returns is a serious crime that hurts innocent taxpayers and undermines the U.S. Treasury.”

Murray was released on conditions of release previously set and is to surrender to the United States Marshal on November 3, 2015.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Morfitt and investigated by the Internal Revenue Service.

Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/.  The case file number is 15-CR-00015.

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Updated October 14, 2015

Topic
Financial Fraud