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Press Release

Northeast Ohio pair indicted for filing nearly 150 tax returns fraudulently claiming $615,000 in refunds

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

A pair from Northeast Ohio were indicted in federal court after they filed or assisted in filing nearly 150 tax returns fraudulently claiming $615,000 in tax refunds.

Laini A. Woods, 46, of Garfield Heights, and David Mitchell, 43, of Cleveland, were each indicted on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, four counts of wire fraud, and four counts of aggravated identity theft in a tax preparation scheme.

Woods and Mitchell recruited people to submit fraudulent tax returns in the individuals’ names, as well as the names of other people they had never met or spoken with. Woods completed and electronically filed the personal tax returns, falsely asserting the individuals owned and operated small businesses in order increase the amount of the tax returns through their Earned Income Credits, according to the indictment. 

Mitchell then recruited individuals to have the tax refunds deposited in bank accounts in their names. Woods and Mitchell then converted the money to their own use, according to the indictment. 

If convicted, the defendants’ sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal record, if any, the defendants’ role in the offense and the characteristics of the violations.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark S. Bennett, after an investigation conducted by the Cincinnati office of the IRS -- Criminal Investigations.


Mike Tobin

Updated August 30, 2018