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Press Release


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


Jackson, Miss - Booker Tarvin, 38, and Bianca Harris, 30, both of Jackson, pled guilty today, before U.S. District Judge David Bramlette III, to conspiracy to steal mail and to commit identity theft, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jerome R. McDuffie with IRS Criminal Investigation.

Tarvin, who is currently serving a 151 month sentence in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, admitted his role in obtaining stolen identities and using them to file false federal income tax returns. Harris’s role in the conspiracy was to convert the fraudulently obtained refund checks and debit cards into cash. Their two co-conspirators, Shemeka Fulford, 37, and Sharon Gibbs, 61, also of Jackson, pled guilty last month. Gibbs, a U.S. postal carrier, retrieved the fraudulent tax refund checks and debit cards from mailboxes on her postal route, and Fulford submitted many of the false returns.

Jerome R. McDuffie, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS - Criminal Investigation, stated, "Booker Tarvin and his co-conspirators have caused great detriment to the taxpayers we are entrusted to serve. They have stolen money from the system we are entrusted to protect. Now, they will face the consequences for their crimes. Because identity theft is still among the top concerns for the public, it is important for the taxpayers out there to know that we are committed to utilizing our resources to combat the problem of stolen identity refund fraud. This case is one of several in the central Mississippi area, and it is my hope that we are getting the word out to the public that IRS-CI is working diligently to bring these fraudsters to justice."

All four defendants will be sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge David Bramlette in Jackson. Gibbs and Fulford will be sentenced on March 19, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Tarvin and Harris will be sentenced on April 30, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. Each defendant faces up to five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, mandatory restitution to the United States, and forfeiture of the proceeds of the scam.

Updated February 9, 2015