Jury finds Patterson man guilty in tax fraud scheme
LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a federal jury found a man from Patterson guilty in a scheme to use stolen identities to file false tax returns and pocket refunds.
Louis W. Carbins Jr., 36, of Patterson, La., was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, seven counts of theft of government money and one count of aggravated identity theft. The three-day trial started Monday and ended today with the jury deliberating for 30 minutes. United States District Judge Dee D. Drell presided over the trial. According to the testimony and evidence presented, from February 2013 to August of 2013, Carbins and co-defendant Laphrida T. Watts, 39, from Morgan City, La., knew and allowed individuals from overseas to use stolen identities to file tax returns. The overseas individuals then directed the IRS to deposit the refunds into Carbins’ bank accounts. Carbins and Watts would then wire some of the money overseas and keep the rest. The IRS issued more than $815,000 in refunds to Carbins’ accounts. Carbins and Watts spent $45,681.22 of the funds.
Watts pleaded guilty on January 13, 2016 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of aggravated identity theft. She faces up to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release for the conspiracy count and an additional two years in prison for the identity theft count, which will be served consecutive to the penalty imposed for the conspiracy count. Carbins faces the same counts as Watts in addition to the seven counts of government money theft. The theft count carries a penalty of 10 years in prison. They both also face three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Watts is scheduled to be sentenced on June 28, 2016, and Carbins is scheduled to be sentenced August 29, 2016.
The IRS conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly P. Uebinger and Robert F. Moore are prosecuting the case.