Former IRS Employee Sentenced for $326,000 Fraud Scheme, Identity Theft
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former employee of the Internal Revenue Service was sentenced in federal court today for using stolen identities in a scheme to receive $326,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.
Demetria Michele Brown, 39, of Birmingham, Ala., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to two years and six months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Brown to pay $326,000 in restitution to the state of Missouri and the IRS.
On June 1, 2015, Brown pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Brown admitted that she engaged in a scheme to submit hundreds of false and fraudulent state and federal income tax returns in order to generate refunds from 2008 to 2011.
Brown, formerly of Fairview Heights, Ill., worked at an IRS office in St. Louis, Mo., during the fraud scheme. While employed by the IRS, Brown unlawfully obtained the personally identifiable information of at least 120 persons. Brown had direct access to taxpayers’ personally identifiable information; however, rather than risk detection by using that information to commit her fraud, Brown obtained the identities of taxpayers in the Metro-East area of St. Louis and Birmingham through illicit sources.
Brown filed more than 120 fraudulent federal tax returns, resulting in a loss of approximately $211,000. Brown filed at least 236 fraudulent state tax returns, resulting in a loss of approximately $115,000, for an aggregate loss amount of approximately $326,000.
The scheme involved Brown obtaining personal identification information, including names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth of other persons without their knowledge or consent. Brown completed U.S. individual income tax returns and Missouri state income tax returns for persons using the personal identification information she had obtained, adding other information which was false and fraudulent, including the address, place of employment, wages earned, taxes withheld and the fact that a refund was due.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Gonzalez. It was investigated by the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Missouri Department of Revenue – Compliance and Investigation Bureau and the Missouri Department of Revenue – Criminal Investigation Bureau.