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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 10, 2015

Savannah Couple Sentenced To Federal Prison In Identity Theft & Tax Return Scam

Savannah, GASheryl Renita Wilson, 44, of Savannah, Georgia, was sentenced last week to 57 months in prison by United States District Court Judge William T. Moore, Jr. after pleading guilty to her role in an identity theft and tax return scam.  Last month, Wilson’s partner-in-crime, Bryan Chester Coney, 32, also of Savannah, was sentenced to 61 months in prison.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea and sentencing hearings, Wilson and Coney, who lived together in Savannah, used the stolen identities of others to file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS.  Wilson and Coney stole the identities of over 75 individuals and claimed over $385,000 worth of fraudulent tax refunds.  Both Wilson and Coney have a history of committing fraud-related crimes.  

United States Attorney Edward Tarver stated, “Every year at this time, millions of law-abiding citizens truthfully complete their tax returns and timely file them with the IRS. Unfortunately, thieving criminals also attempt to use this time of year to steal — causing great harm to the victims of identity theft and to all taxpayers.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office, partnering with the IRS-Criminal Investigations, will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who commit tax fraud.  Tax fraudsters like these defendants can expect to spend the next several tax seasons in a federal prison.”

“These unscrupulous defendants thought they had figured out a clever scheme to thwart the IRS and steal from American taxpayers,” stated Special Agent in Charge, Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, IRS Criminal Investigation.  “As the defendants in this case have learned, stealing from the American people will not be tolerated and you will be held accountable.”

This case was investigated by Special Agents with IRS-CI.  Assistant United States Attorney T. Shane Mayes prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.  For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

Updated April 13, 2015