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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 30, 2017

Final Defendant Pleads Guilty In Massive Conspiracy To Commit Tax Fraud In Battle Creek

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN —Today, Acting United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced that Diallo Dotson, formerly of Battle Creek, Michigan, entered a plea of guilty in federal district court to conspiring with Derrick J. Gibson to file false and fraudulent federal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.

          In February 2016, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment charging 34 defendants with federal conspiracy for their roles in a conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service through the filing of false federal income tax returns claiming more than $22 million in false and fraudulent federal income tax refunds. A multi-year joint investigation led by the Internal Revenue Service, Veterans Affairs – Office of the Inspector General, United States Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Department of Homeland Security, Battle Creek Police Department, Albion Police Department, Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department, and Michigan State Police resulted in the federal charges.

          The Indictment alleged that the defendants utilized other individuals’ personal identification information -- obtained in part from patients and employees of the Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center and from inmates of the Michigan Department of Corrections -- to file false tax returns. To date, 33 of the 34 defendants charged with connspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service have entered pleas of guilty. One defendant, Romell Bolden, was dismissed from the indictment when his mother, co-defendant Simone Watkins, admitted that she and Derrick Gibson filed the false federal income tax returns in his name.

DERRICK J. GIBSON
Plea of Guilty on August 16, 2016
Sentenced on January 6, 2017 to 120 months in prison and restitution of $16,000,000

CHARMICA GRIFFIN
Plea of Guilty on October 4, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on February 8, 2017

STEPHANIE T. BAKER
Plea of Guilty on October 7, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on February 16, 2017

LATIA M. WILLIAMS, former employee of Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Plea of Guilty on November 18, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on April 13, 2017

ALVIN E. STEPHENSON II, former employee of Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Plea of Guilty on November 21, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on April 13, 2017

SANDRIA M. BLAKLEY, former employee of Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Plea of Guilty on November 29, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on April 20, 2017

EDWARD WARDEN, JR.
Plea of Guilty on May 4, 2016
Sentenced on October 31, 2016, to 30 months in prison and restitution of $110,004

CHANEL MCLENNEY
Plea of Guilty on December 7, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on April 27, 2017

DARWIN GIBSON
Plea of Guilty on November 4, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on April 3, 2017

BOBBY CRABTREE , Michigan Department of Corrections inmate
Plea of Guilty on May 17, 2016
Sentenced on October 11, 2016, to 30 months in prison consecutive to State sentences already being served and restitution of $24,205

DEQYNN GIBSON
Plea of Guilty on October 26, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on March 7, 2017

DARRIEN GIBSON
Plea of Guilty on October 24, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on March 7, 2017

ROCHELLE R. VELASQUEZ
Plea of Guilty on July 11, 2016
Sentenced on November 16, 2016, to 2 years of probation and restitution of $69,156

SCHERRIE P. MCNUTT
Plea of Guilty on April 26, 2016
Sentenced on October 11, 2016, to 18 months in prison and restitution of $188,398

DEVOINE GIBSON
Plea of Guilty on November 14, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on April 10, 2017

PRENTIS H. GIBSON
Plea of Guilty on October 11, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on February 16, 2017

LAMONT JOYNER
Plea of Guilty on November 28, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on April 27, 2017

SHAMEIKA N. CARR
Plea of Guilty on November 29, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on May 3, 2017

CHARLEETA CORK
Plea of Guilty on December 8, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on May 15, 2017

KEITH CORK
Plea of Guilty on November 29, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on May 3, 2017

MAIYA R. JACKSON
Plea of Guilty on July 22, 2016
Sentenced on October 19, 2016, to time served (4 months and 3 days)

SHAWN MCKNIGHT, Michigan Department of Corrections inmate
Plea of Guilty on May 13, 2016
Sentenced on October 5, 2016, to 12 months in prison consecutive to State sentences already being served

DAVID HAYMER, Michigan Department of Corrections inmate
Plea of Guilty on March 25, 2016
Sentenced on October 5, 2016, to 18 months in prison consecutive to State sentences already being served and restitution of $34,684

DIALLO DOTSON
Plea of Guilty on January 27, 2017
Scheduled for sentencing on May 22, 2017

ROMELL BOLDEN
Dismissed from indictment

LABRISHA PORTER
Plea of Guilty on November 1, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on March 16, 2017

KYPREE TAYLOR
Plea of Guilty on November 10, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on April 3, 2017

ROSEMARY BOYD
Plea of Guilty on October 5, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on February 9, 2017

PATRICIA RIDDLE-MCCLINTON
Plea of Guilty on December 7, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on May 1, 2017

JOSEPH JEREMY JOHNSON, Michigan Department of Corrections inmate
Plea of Guilty on June 2, 2016
Sentenced on October 31, 2016, to 24 months in prison consecutive to State sentences already being served and restitution of $34,644

KISHA N. EVANS
Plea of Guilty on November 14, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on April 10, 2017

RASHALL FORD
Plea of Guilty on November 2, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on March 16, 2017

SIMONE WATKINS
Plea of Guilty on January 26, 2017
Scheduled for sentencing on May 25, 2017

ROMARO CARSWELL
Plea of Guilty on November 30, 2016
Scheduled for sentencing on April 20, 2017

          Acting United States Attorney Birge stated, “This conspiracy involved a wide array of individuals, including three federal employees, who believed that they could steal money from the Internal Revenue Service over a period of years with impunity. But they found out that the Internal Revenue Service is very good at finding those who use the tax system to steal from the government and that my office will hold them responsible.”       

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney B. Rene Shekmer.

END

Updated January 30, 2017