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Press Release

Indianapolis woman sentenced to 37 months in prison for tax fraud and identity theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana
Fraudulently filed tax returns sought over $350,000 in tax refunds

Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that Irene Woods, 35, of Indianapolis was sentenced to 37 months in prison by United States District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft.

The case began when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) identified 69 tax returns with suspicious deductions filed from an I.P. address belonging to Woods. These returns sought over $350,000 in tax refunds. The IRS determined that 46 of the taxpayers who purportedly filed some of the returns, were the victims of identity theft and had never in fact filed the tax returns in question.

The IRS executed search warrants at Woods’ address in May of 2013, where they found significant evidence of identity theft, including approximately 100 debit cards in over 80 different names and approximately 70 business credit applications that contained victim names, social security numbers, dates of birth, driver license numbers, addresses and phone numbers. In total, over 100 different names and corresponding social security numbers were found. Woods admitted to filing fraudulent tax returns for both the 2011 and 2012 tax years, for people she knew and for herself using the stolen identities.

“Tax preparation individuals, such as Irene Woods, who prepare and intentionally file fraudulent tax returns in order to defraud the federal government and maliciously steal personal identifying information from innocent persons, thereby threatening their financial security, should be prosecuted fully in accordance with federal law,” said Minkler. 

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

Tara Sullivan, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge said, “Ms. Woods’ sentence, ordered by Judge Pratt, shows the serious consequences of stealing identities to violate federal tax law. The IRS has successfully taken many steps in recent years to prevent Stolen Identify Tax Refund Fraud; these results are a reflection of those efforts. Taxpayers can rest safer knowing fraudsters like Ms. Woods are being removed from the streets of Indianapolis.”

According to Assistant United States Attorney Bradley P. Shepard who prosecuted the case, Woods will be on supervised release for 2 years following her release from prison.

In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to utilize and partner with the law enforcement agencies to prosecute individuals engaged in income tax fraud. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan  5.4.

Updated July 31, 2019