Anderson Woman Pleads Guilty to Fraud Involving Tax Refund Checks
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina
Contact Person: Bill Watkins (864) 282-2100
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Helen Jean Anderson, age 57, of Anderson, South Carolina, pled guilty today in federal court in Greenville, to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. Senior United States District Henry M. Herlong, Jr. of Greenville accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
The evidence at the change of plea hearing established that Anderson and various co-conspirators would obtain the means of identification of other individuals and then file fraudulent tax returns. Once the Treasury checks arrived, the co-conspirators sought ways to negotiate the checks. An eye-witness at a convenience store in the upstate told law enforcement that Helen Anderson had recently been in the store and claimed to have 200 Treasury checks to cash and said that she would pay $500 per check to cash them. The eye-witness contacted the police.
On August 6, 2013, a confidential informant working with United States Postal Inspectors was wired for audio and video and met with Helen Anderson. Anderson gave the informant multiple Treasury checks to cash. Anderson instructed the informant to bring her the money from the cashing of the checks within 2 days. She told the informant that she might have more Treasury checks available to cash once the informant returned the money to her.
In order to hide her ties to the Treasury checks, Anderson paid co-conspirators to allow her to use their addresses so checks and other tax documents would be sent to those addresses and would not obviously be associated with Anderson.
Law enforcement estimates that Anderson and her co-conspirators negotiated $483,294.40 in Treasury checks derived from fraudulent returns.
Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Anderson can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for 20 years, plus a special assessment of $100.
The case was investigated by agents of the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.
Updated February 23, 2015