CA: Pittsburg residents charged with stolen identity refund fraud

OAKLAND –A federal grand jury indicted Michael Johnson and Nicole Berry with conspiracy to file false claims, filing false claims, theft of public money, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and effecting fraudulent transactions with access devices.

According to the indictment, between February 2012 and May 2012, Johnson and Berry, both from Pittsburg, California, conspired to defraud the IRS by filing or helping others file false claims with the IRS requesting refunds in the names of others.

As part of the scheme, the defendants and their co-conspirators obtained income tax returns, names, and identities of individual taxpayers from client tax files that were stolen during a 2011 burglary of a tax preparation business whose initials are CTS.

Johnson was arrested on April 21, 2015, and made his initial appearance in federal court in Oakland on April 22, 2015.  He was released on a $100,000 unsecured bond.  His next scheduled appearance is on May 11, 2015, before the Honorable Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr., U.S. District Judge.  Berry is currently in custody in Placer County on unrelated charges.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Further Information:  Case #: 4:15-cr-00181-HSG

SOURCE: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California

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