Federal Inmate, Co-Conspirator Indicted for Alleged Tax Fraud Scheme
Memphis, TN – A federal prisoner in Mississippi, along with a co-conspirator in West Tennessee, has been indicted for allegedly operating a tax fraud scheme. Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the indictments today.
According to the indictment, between January and April of 2014, Henry Lamont Jones, 41; and Toni Chinwah, 45; both of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; operated a scheme in which they filed and attempted to file federal fraudulent income tax returns using stolen identity information. During the course of the scheme, Jones, who was an inmate at FCI Yazoo City, Mississippi, would obtain personal identifying information. Jones would secretly pass the information to Chinwah, who wasn’t incarcerated, during prison visiting hours. She would then prepare and file fraudulent federal income tax returns using the information in an attempt to obtain income tax refunds.
After becoming aware of the scheme, detectives with the Memphis Police Department Organized Crime Unit (MPD-OCU), working in an undercover capacity, made contact with the defendants. The defendants presumed that the officers were helping them in their scheme. Chinwah prepared income tax returns using controlled identity information provided by the undercover officers, which she believed to have been stolen, and electronically filed those returns with the expectation that the conspirators would receive federal income tax refunds.
On Tuesday, August 16, both Jones and Chinwah were indicted on one count of false claims conspiracy. Chinwah was also charged with four counts of attempted submission of false claims.
Each charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
This case is being investigated by MPD-OCU and IRS-Criminal Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Cotten is prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.
The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.