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Press Release

Jury convicts Beachwood woman of stealing the identities of more than a dozen people and filing false tax returns

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

A jury convicted a Beachwood woman of stealing the identities of more than a dozen people and filing false tax returns.

Aesha Johnson, 41, was convicted on all 29 counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. She is scheduled to be sentenced later this year.

Her daughter, Brittany Williams, previously pleaded guilty to her role in the conspiracy.

Williams and Johnson, when she was living in West Virginia, conspired together to use stolen identities to file false tax returns with the IRS, seeking tax refunds. Johnson acquired many of these identities through a previous criminal fraud scheme, according to the indictment.

Johnson and Williams used an address associated with the family on East 142nd Street in Cleveland as the address of record for many of the false tax returns. They often communicated with each other using a code that referred to the victims using numbers 1 through 31, and created and used fictitious email accounts in the names of the victims to communicate with the IRS, according to the indictment

Williams filed the false tax returns online, obtained prepaid debit cards in the names of the identity-theft victims and requested the IRS deposit the refunds onto those cards. Williams then withdraw cash or made purchases with the cards, according to the indictment.

“This pair stole people’s identities then used it to steal from taxpayers,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said.

“The defendant who perpetrated this scheme systemically defrauded the government, the taxpaying public, and their identity theft victims,” said William Cheung, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Cincinnati Field Office. “This guilty verdict should serve as a stern warning for those engaging in similar conduct: you will be caught, and you will be held accountable.”

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Cronin and Justin Seabury Gould following an investigation by the IRS. 


Mike Tobin

Updated March 13, 2019

Identity Theft