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Justice News

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Memphis Women Plead Guilty To Tax Fraud Scheme Using Identities Of Deceased Persons

Memphis, TN – A tax fraud scheme that featured returns filed on behalf of deceased individuals resulted in a pair of guilty pleas, announced U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton III.

Nakita Brooks, 31, and Cheryl Wright, 30, both of Memphis, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government through the filing of false income tax returns.

According to the facts presented in the indictment and revealed during sentencing hearings, beginning as early as February 2010 through at least November 2011, Brooks and Wright filed hundreds of false returns using the personal identifying information of deceased individuals, including social security numbers.

In addition to filing false returns, Wright and Brooks also set up tax return services using stolen identities as the preparers of the returns. In 2010, the name of the company used to prepare the returns was Rattler’s Tax Pals. In 2011, the name of the company used to prepare the returns was Taxes Express. Three individuals, including a nine-year old girl from Indiana, had their tax information fraudulently listed as the preparers for these companies.

At least $462,619.31 was deposited into accounts under the control of Brooks and Wright. The total loss is estimated to be $1 million to $2.5 million. The conspiracy count carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Brooks will be sentenced on July 11, 2014, and Wright will be sentenced on July 24, 2014. Both will appear before U.S. District Judge John T. Fowlkes, Jr.

This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Pritchard represented the government.

Updated March 19, 2015