Two Charged With Using Stolen Identities To File Fraudulent Income Tax Returns Claiming More Than $1.3 Million In Refunds
Public Affairs Officer
COLUMBUS – Internal Revenue Service agents arrested Roma L. Sims, 34, Westerville, Ohio and Samantha C. Towns, 30, Reynoldsburg, Ohio today based on criminal complaints that they filed 559 individual income tax returns for 2011 claiming total refunds of $1,312,513.89 using the stolen personal information of victims including many Kentucky residents who were receiving disability or other public assistance benefits.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS) announced the arrests today.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the complaints, Sims established Express Tax and Accounting on Morse Road in Columbus in December 2011 and Towns organized X-Press Taxes and Accounting Services in Reynoldsburg, Ohio in January 2012. They allegedly filed the fraudulent returns and had the refunds deposited into five bank accounts they opened and controlled.
Sims and Towns appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Preston Deavers who scheduled a detention hearing for Friday, February 1 at 2 p.m.
The complaint charges each individual with aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory two-year sentence, conspiracy which is punishable by five years in prison and wire fraud, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. If convicted, mandatory restitution to victims would be part of any sentence.
“Identity theft is a serious crime that victimizes honest taxpayers and causes immense hardship,” said Richard Weber, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Today’s actions should serve as a warning that we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s office to hold accountable those individuals who undermine our income tax system by filing false claims for refunds.”
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the ongoing investigation by IRS agents, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Brown, who is representing the United States in the case.
Allegations in a criminal complaint are accusations only. Defendants should be presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.