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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Local Man Sentenced For Aggravated Identity Theft, Using Deceased Children’s Identities To File False Income Tax Returns


CINCINNATI, OHIO – Christopher K. Smith, 29, of Hamilton, Ohio, was sentenced to 24 months in jail for aggravated identity theft. Smith filed false federal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using the stolen identities belonging to deceased individuals, including children.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office, announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett.

According to court documents, between February 2012 and June 2012 Christopher Smith electronically submitted at least five false income tax returns to the IRS for the 2011 income tax year using at least ten stolen identities, all but one of which belonged to deceased individuals, including children.  Smith attempted to file at least three more false income tax returns using nine other stolen identities, but these returns were rejected by the IRS.

Smith prepared and filed the false income tax returns in Fairfield, Ohio.  The income tax returns contained fabricated information as it related to the taxpayer, including addresses, dependents, occupations, income amounts and education expenses.  The inclusion of this false information often qualified the taxpayer listed on the return to receive the Earned Income Credit, Additional Child Tax Credit and Education Credit, which resulted in even greater refund amounts.

Smith primarily used the stolen identities of deceased persons – using the names and Social Security numbers of adults as the taxpayers and the names and Social Security numbers of children as the dependents.  He further indicated on the returns that the children had passed away during the tax year.  In at least four instances, including his own 2011 tax return, Smith had to change the names and Social Security numbers used as dependents on each return, until they were accepted by the IRS, as some of the victims' information had already been sent to the IRS.

Smith prepared and electronically submitted a false federal income tax return using his own name as a taxpayer and the stolen identity of an individual, falsely claiming the stolen identities of this individual’s daughter and son. This then allowed him to falsely qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit. Smith claimed, and received on a prepaid debit card, a fraudulent refund in the amount of $7,482. Both the children’s identities were those of children who had died in 2011. Neither of the children’s parents had given Smith permission to use their child’s Social Security number of claim their child on his tax return.

The total intended loss for this scheme was $41,522.  For restitution purposes, Smith owes the IRS $9,344.

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation by IRS and Assistant United States Attorney Jessica W. Knight, who is prosecuting this case.

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Updated July 23, 2015