U.S. Attorney warns against cheating the IRS in light of 4 recen

U.S. Attorney warns against cheating the IRS in light of 4 recent arrests

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The U.S. Attorney's office in the middle district in Montgomery is sounding the warning of cheating the IRS; don't do it.

Federal investigators arrested 4 people this week for allegedly stealing people's identities and using that scheme to file fraudulent tax returns.

Court records show the following people have been indicted by a federal grand jury:

LaQuanta Clayton; charged with aggravated identity theft and theft of government money. Clayton faces up to 10 years each of the 15 theft of government money counts and a mandatory two-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft counts.

Scottie Alice Johnson; charged with conspiracy to commit theft of public funds and to defraud the IRS and with theft of public funds. Investigators say Johnson conspired with others and filed false federal income tax returns with stolen identities. Johnson allegedly had those tax refunds deposited into several bank accounts. Court records show those accounts received at least $1.3 million. Johnson faces 5 years imprisonment for the conspiracy count and 10 years imprisonment for each theft of public funds count if convicted.

Lea'Tice Phillips; charged with 37 counts of filing false claims, wire fraud, computer fraud and aggravated identity theft. Investigators say Phillips conspired with Antoinette Djonret and others to file false tax returns using stolen identities. Court records show Djonret filed over 1,000 false tax returns that claimed more than $1.7 million in fraudulent tax refunds.

The grand jury also returned indictments against Tabitha Stinson, Melba Wilson, Chantresa Hayes, and Corey Means for their roles in the same conspiracy. Phillips faces 10 years in prison for the conspiracy to file false claims, 20 years for each wire fraud count, 10 years for each computer fraud count and a mandatory two-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft counts if she's convicted.

Chequila Motley; charged with conspiracy, 5 counts of wire fraud and 5 counts of aggravated identity theft. Court records show Motley worked for a state agency in Alabama and had access to individuals' personal identifying information as part of her job. Motley allegedly stole identities and sold them to several co-conspirators. Those co-conspirators used the stolen identities to file false tax returns that requested tax refunds from the IRS. Motley faces up to 10 years in prison for the conspiracy charge, up to 20 years for each wire fraud charge, and a mandatory two-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft counts.

If you feel you've been a victim of stolen identity the IRS is encouraging you to contact them at the IRS Protection Center at 1-800-908-4490.

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