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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 29, 2015

RETURN PREPARER PLEADS GUILTY IN TAX FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT

            El Dorado, AR – Kenny Elser, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, Tamera D. Cantu, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, Nashville Field Office, and Brian T. Marr, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the United States Secret Service announced that Gregory A. Taylor, 51, of Clanton, Alabama (formerly Crossett, Arkansas), pleaded guilty today to one count  of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims.  Mr. Taylor was one of eight defendants indicted on June 24, 2014 by a Federal Grand Jury as part of an investigation into a tax fraud and identity theft scheme in El Dorado and Crossett.  The change of plea was accepted by the Honorable Susan O. Hickey in the U.S. District Court in El Dorado.    

            “The defendants who perpetrated this scheme systematically defrauded the government and the taxpaying public,” said Tamera D. Cantu, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation.  “At the IRS, protecting taxpayer money is a matter we take very seriously.  IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to vigorously pursue those who unjustly enrich themselves by preparing false claims for refunds.”

         Additional defendants involved in this case who have pleaded guilty are as follows:

  • Venus M. Ford, 34, pleaded guilty August 5, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims and one count of Aggravated Identity Theft.

  • Shawn D. Carey, 35, pleaded guilty June 23, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims and one count of Aggravated Identity Theft. 

  • Whitney M. Charles, 26, pleaded guilty August 6, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims and one count of Aggravated Identity Theft.

  • Sanjuana N. Aaron, 35, pleaded guilty August 26, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims and one count of Aggravated Identity Theft.

  • Erica R. Browning, 36, pleaded guilty March 20, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims, one count of Aggravated Identity Theft, and one count of Theft of Public Money. 

  • Ecko Scott, 35, pleaded guilty August 5, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims, one count of Aggravated Identity Theft, and one count of Theft of Public Money.

  • Clarrise R. Carey, 34, pleaded guilty August 3, 2015, to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims and one count of Theft of Public Money.

            Mr. Taylor’s plea agreement revealed that, beginning in January 2009 through December 2011, Mr. Taylor willingly and knowingly conspired with others to defraud the United States by obtaining or aiding to obtain the payment or allowance of false, fictitious, and fraudulent claims, in particular the filing of false fraudulent 2008, 2009, and 2010 U.S. Individual Income Tax Forms 1040 (tax returns) by unlawfully using the personal identifying information of others.

           During 2011, IRS-CI, U.S. Secret Service, and the El Dorado Police Department obtained evidence that Mr. Taylor and his co-defendants were involved in a large identity theft and tax refund scheme to obtain fraudulent tax refunds using the personal identifying information, specifically names, social security numbers, and dates of birth, of numerous individuals to claim fraudulent tax from the state and federal government.  The evidence revealed that Mr. Taylor, a return preparer in Crossett, Arkansas, was working with and/or assisting other defendants with the filing of fraudulent tax returns to obtain false refunds.  As part of his plea agreement, Mr. Taylor admitted that as a result of the conspiracy, he and his co-conspirators fraudulently claimed refunds totaling $1,101,478. 

            The sentence for each defendant will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the each defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), each defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violations.  In addition to prison time, each count carries a mandatory period of supervised release and maximum fine of $250,000.

            The investigation was conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Secret Service, El Dorado Police Department, and the Crossett Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Ross prosecuted the case for the United States. 

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            Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website @ www.pacer.gov

 

 

 

Topic: 
Financial Fraud
Updated December 29, 2015