Georgia Man Indicted for Stealing Deceased Persons' Identities to gain $2.3 Million in State Tax Refunds
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Georgia man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for a scheme using the identity information of deceased persons to obtain more than $2.3 million in tax refunds from several states.
Sirhon Rivers, also known as “Ron,” 40, of Georgia, was charged in a 32-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City, Mo., on March 19, 2014. That indictment was unsealed and made public following the arrest and initial court appearance of Rivers in Atlanta, Ga., on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing in Atlanta.
The federal indictment alleges that Rivers unlawfully obtained $547,000 from the Missouri Department of Revenue by filing fraudulent tax returns. Rivers allegedly used the same scheme in others states to unlawfully acquire a total of $2,365,000 in fraudulent state tax refunds. The indictment alleges that Rivers participated in this conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft from January 2008 to August 2012.
According to the indictment, Rivers obtained personal identification information – including names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth – from deceased persons. He allegedly submitted state tax returns using that information, adding false and fraudulent information such as employment and wages earned. State tax returns were submitted electronically, the indictment says, with the refunds electronically transferred to bank accounts that Rivers opened at several financial institutions.
In addition to the wire fraud and identity theft conspiracy, Rivers is charged with 25 counts of wire fraud, five counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Rivers to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Gonzalez. It was investigated by the FBI and the Missouri Department of Revenue Criminal Tax Investigations Bureau and the Missouri Department of Revenue Compliance and Investigation Bureau.