South Euclid Woman Indicted For Fraud, Identity Theft
A 33-count indictment was filed today charging a South Euclid woman with aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and bank fraud related to a $70,000 scheme, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Cincinnati Field Office.
Keauna Smith, 28, is accused of stealing the identities of 16 people between 2012 and 2104. She used these stolen identities to file 18 false tax claims of approximately $44,306. She had the money loaded onto prepaid debit cards and then withdrew the money at various ATMs, according to the indictment.
Smith also illegally obtained approximately $26,300 this year by taking checks from her employer, made them payable to herself and then forged the owner’s signature on the checks, according to the indictment.
“This defendant is accused of stealing from private citizens, the federal government and her employer,” Dettelbach said. “Her free ride of theft ends now.”
“Investigating refund fraud and identity theft is a priority for Criminal Investigation,” Enstrom said. “Stealing identities and filing false returns is a serious crime that hurts innocent taxpayers. IRS Criminal Investigation is serious about investigating these crimes and holding accountable those who would defraud the government.”
Smith faces 16 counts of wire fraud, 16 counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of bank fraud.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James V. Moroney following an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.
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.