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Press Release

South Euclid woman sentenced to five years in prison for identity theft and fraud

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

A South Euclid woman was sentenced to five years in prison for 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, 29, pleaded guilty to seven counts earlier this year.

She stole 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 court documents.

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 court documents.

“This defendant is accused of stole from private citizens, the federal government and her employer,” Dettelbach said. “Her ride of theft ends in federal prison.”

“Individuals who commit identity theft and refund fraud of this magnitude deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Enstrom said. “Keauna Smith caused immeasurable hardship to innocent victims. IRS Criminal Investigation remains committed to the pursuit of identity theft and, together with our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, we will hold those who engage in similar conduct accountable.”

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James V. Moroney following an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations.

Updated May 20, 2015

Identity Theft