Former DC Youth Rehab Employee Sentenced to 4 Years Role in Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Scheme

A former D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) employee who provided 645 youth offenders’ identity information to a tax refund fraud ring was sentenced today.  Marc A. Bell pleaded guilty in January for his role in the scheme that filed more than 12,000 fraudulent tax returns seeking at least $42 million in refunds.

According to the Department of Justice, the scheme involved a network of more than 130 people, many of whom were receiving public assistance.  The false tax returns were often filed in the names of people whose identities had been stolen, including the elderly, people in assisted living facilities, drug addicts and incarcerated individuals.  Refunds also were sent to people who were willing participants in the scheme.

According to documents filed with the court, from 2005 to 2013, Bell was employed as a program manager, program officer or placement expeditor at the District of Columbia’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, and had access to the agency’s database system, which contained the personal identifying information of DYRS youth, including their names and social security numbers.

Bell admitted that between approximately May 2010 and April 2013, he obtained the personal identifying information of at least 645 then-current and former DYRS youth, and provided that information to other scheme participants, who used the names and social security numbers to file at least 1,160 fraudulent federal income tax returns that claimed refunds of approximately $4,441,194.

In addition to sentencing Bell to four years in prison, U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle also ordered Bell to serve three years of supervised release and pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $1,972,710.

Also this morning, Lakisha Jackson, 40, of District Heights, Maryland, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit theft of public money for her role in the scheme.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice

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