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Press Release

Two From Sumter Indicted for Tax Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles announced today an indictment charging Crystal A. Blakely, 26, and Hercules E. Baker, 27, both of Sumter, South Carolina, with their roles in a scheme to defraud the United States by claiming false and fraudulent federal tax refunds.

The indictment alleges that both defendants conspired to defraud the United States Department of Treasury between January 2012 and April 2014 by submitting federal income tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service that claimed false tax refunds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286.  Blakely is also charged with three counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and two counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A.  The maximum penalty each could receive is ten years’ imprisonment for the conspiracy count, twenty years’ imprisonment for the wire fraud counts, and two years’ consecutive imprisonment for the aggravated identity theft counts.

The indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Ben Garner of the Columbia office is prosecuting the case.

Mr. Nettles states that the charges in this Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


Updated February 4, 2016