Defendants and Charges added to Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme Indictment
HOUSTON – A Houston federal grand Jury has added three defendants and additional conspiracy charges to a November 2014 Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF) indictment, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Lucy Cruz, special agent in charge of Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). The prosecution is part of a national Stolen Identity Refund Fraud initiative that has resulted in a number of prosecutions throughout the United States in recent months.
The original 22-count indictment charged Ronald Dewayne Hadley with the filing of 22 of stolen identity income tax refund claims. The 29-count superseding indictment returned July 1, 2015, adds defendants Lyndell Leroy Price, Leondray Demond Garrison aka “Dre” and Ryan Duron Clay aka “Clayday” and charges all three with conspiracy and additional false tax refund claims totaling approximately $135,555.
The defendants are expected to make their initial appearances tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy. The case is presently assigned to U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon and set for trial July 20, 2015.
The superseding indictment alleges these defendants conspired to obtain identity information. They then allegedly used that information to file 28 false tax returns indicating all of the taxpayers were “barbers” with only “dividend income” who were entitled to a full refund of a fictitious amount of withholding taxes ranging from $4,977 to $6,733. According to the superseding indictment, the defendants conspired to have the IRS deposit the fraudulent refunds to debit cards which were then emptied and shared. The indictment further alleges that in a few instances, the debit cards were used to make purchases directly from local merchants.
The defendants face up to ten years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge and up to five years in federal prison on each of the 28 false claim charges. The face a fine of up to $250,000 fine on each count of conviction.
The case, investigated by IRS-CI, is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmy Sledge Jr.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.