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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 23, 2015

Buffalo Man Convicted By Federal Jury Of Conspiracy, Aggravated Identity Theft And Other Charges

CONTACT:     Barbara Burns      
PHONE:       (716) 843-5817
FAX:          (716) 551-3051
 

BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that following a two week trial, a federal jury in Buffalo has convicted Clifton Jackson, 46, of Buffalo, N.Y., with conspiracy to unlawfully use Social Security numbers, conspiracy for the filing of false tax returns, filing false tax returns, aggravated identity theft, misuse of social security numbers and theft of government property. The defendant faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 when sentenced.

“This defendant attempted to defraud both the Government and individuals by his own version of a 'get rich quick scheme',” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “This case should serve as a warning that if someone offers something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The Government does not give money away to individuals for providing simple information such as name and date of birth.”

IRS-Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas E. Bishop said: “The Internal Revenue Service has made the investigation of identity theft tax refund fraud schemes a top priority. Today’s verdict sends a clear warning to anyone contemplating taking part in such crimes: These schemes will be uncovered and thoroughly investigated and the participants will face severe consequences. It should also reassure honest taxpayers that the government is committed to devoting resources to fighting this problem.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Trini E. Ross and John E. Rogowski, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that the defendant devised a scheme to defraud individuals and the United States Government by obtaining and using the names, social security numbers and dates of birth issued to over 80 individuals. Jackson then used that information to file fraudulent tax returns for the tax year 2011with the IRS.          

The defendant obtained the information by telling individuals that if they provided names, social security numbers and dates of birth, they could receive money from the Government. Jackson also recruited other individuals to provide additional names, social security numbers and dates of birth.  

The Government presented more than 60 witnesses during the trial. These witnesses included over 20 individuals who were victimized by the defendant. Over the duration of the scheme, Jackson attempted to defraud the IRS of more than $550,000.

Jackson is currently serving a 10 year state sentenced in Ohio for a drug conviction. Three other defendants were charged and convicted in this case.  

The verdict is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, Buffalo Office, under the direction of Supervisory Special Agent Michael Rivera, and the United States Postal Inspection Service under the direction of Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge, Boston Division.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 11, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Geoffrey L. Crawford who presided over the trial.

Updated January 26, 2015