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Press Release

Two Birmingham Area Men Charged With Filing False Tax Returns, Theft Of Public Monies, Wire Fraud, And Aggravated Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Alabama

Kenyen R. Brown, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, announced today that Donald Centreal Smith, age 32, of Birmingham, Alabama, and Gary G. Collins, age 33, of Odenville, Alabama, have been charged in a 30-count indictment by a federal grand jury in Birmingham, Alabama, with conspiring to file false tax returns, filing false tax returns, theft of public monies, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.  Smith and Collins are charged in each of the thirty counts.

The conspiracy and false claims counts carry a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment; the theft of public monies counts carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment; the wire fraud counts carry a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment; and the counts charging aggravated identity theft require a 2 year mandatory term of imprisonment to run consecutive to any other sentence.  The Indictment also seeks the forfeiture of a money judgment equal to the proceeds derived from the above-referenced violations.

As alleged in the Indictment, Donald C. Smith is a Special Agent with the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Division, and he and Collins are charged with using personal information that came into Smith’s possession by virtue of his employment as a Special Agent to prepare and electronically file false tax returns.

“The IRS will continue to aggressively pursue those who use stolen social security numbers to file false tax returns,” said Jerome McDuffie, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation- New Orleans Field Office.  “The indictment returned against Mr. Smith and Mr. Collins serves as a reminder that those who defraud innocent people and steal government funds will be held accountable.  Mr. Smith used his position and access as an IRS employee to perpetrate this fraudulent scheme.  Our agency will continue to work closely with the United States Attorney’s Office to hold individuals, particularly those in positions of public trust, responsible for their illegal activities.”

“Corrupt interference with Federal tax administration is an extremely serious matter,” said Melissa Chedotal, Special Agent in Charge for TIGTA’s Atlanta Field Division.  “Allegations of aggravated identity theft committed by an IRS employee who bears the responsibility for protecting taxpayers from such crimes are particularly reprehensible.  TIGTA will aggressively investigate any and all allegations of IRS employees victimizing taxpayers for their own personal gain.”  Chedotal credited IRS CI for working diligently to bring the investigation to a satisfactory conclusion.  “This was a joint investigation in every sense of the word,” she said.  “The successful investigation of these allegations would not have been possible without IRS Criminal Investigations, whose cooperation was superb in every way.”

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant.  A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty at trial.

This case was investigated by the United States Department of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, New Orleans Division.  The case will be prosecuted by Donna B. Dobbins of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama, acting as Special Attorney, due to the recusal of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern Division of Alabama.

Updated May 5, 2015