Second Pittsburgh Woman Sentenced for Role in Fraudulent Tax Return Scheme
PITTSBURGH - A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to three years probation on her convictions of mail fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the United States, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak imposed the sentence on Simone Prater, 29, who was incarcerated pending sentencing. Judge Hornak also ordered that Ms. Prater pay $25,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
According to information presented to the court, Sean Brooks, while incarcerated on other charges, prepared and arranged for the filing of more than one hundred fraudulent tax returns on behalf of fellow inmates and other individuals and generated more than $200,000 in fraudulent refunds. The fraudulent refunds were sent to a number of different addresses, and, after forging the endorsement of the payees, the checks were cashed through federally insured financial institutions and through check-cashing establishments. Simone Prater, among others, assisted the conspiracy in a variety of ways, including sending the Internal Revenue Service the fraudulent tax returns, picking up refund checks and providing them to others to cash; disbursing the proceeds of the fraud amongst the conspirators, and providing the names and addresses of closed businesses for Brooks to use as fake employers for taxpayers on the fraudulent tax returns.
Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
United States Attorney Brady commended the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service and the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations, for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Prater.