Husband and Wife Sentenced to Prison for Attempting to Bilk the IRS out of $1.3 Million
CHICAGO — A husband and wife have been sentenced to federal prison for stealing the identities of at least ten people and using the information to file fraudulent tax returns seeking more than $1.3 million in refunds.
TILLMAN LIGGINS III, 50, of Joliet, was sentenced Tuesday to five years and four months in prison. His wife, CHINITA WILLIAMS-LIGGINS, 39, of Joliet, was sentenced in July to three and a half years in prison. The couple was also ordered to pay $331,154 in restitution to the IRS.
U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman imposed the sentences in federal court in Chicago.
The sentences were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.
“Without the compliance of taxpayers with our country’s tax laws, the federal government would essentially cease to function,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kalia Coleman argued in the government’s sentencing memorandums. “The honest taxpayers must shoulder a disproportionate amount of the tax burden, and fewer necessary government services and benefits can be provided when some people cheat the IRS out of substantial sums of money.”
Liggins III and Williams-Liggins each pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. The couple admitted in plea agreements that they obtained personal identifying information, including names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth, of at least ten individuals without their knowledge or consent. They used that information to prepare and file false and fraudulent individual federal income tax returns (Forms 1040) for the tax years 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
In total, the pair caused to be filed with the IRS at least 219 false and fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds of approximately $1,323,793. As a result of the scheme, the IRS deposited approximately $331,154 in fraudulent refunds into bank accounts controlled by the couple and others.