Former Fort Benning hospital employee steals military IDs to commit tax refund fraud – indictment
Tracy Mitchell, of Phenix City, Alabama, was indicted by a federal grand jury for her involvement in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme, announced George L. Beck, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama and Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
Mitchell was charged with several counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to the indictment, Mitchell worked at the hospital at Fort Benning, Georgia. As a hospital employee, Mitchell had access to the identification data of military personnel, including soldiers who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Mitchell stole these service member’s identities and used their information to file false tax returns. Mitchell filed over 1,000 false returns claiming over $2.2 million from her home in Phenix City, Alabama. During the investigation, federal agents executed a search warrant at Mitchell’s residence in Phenix City and found over $300,000 in cash stored in a safe.
“Identity theft is a horrible crime, but stealing identities from those who are serving our country is absolutely deplorable,” stated U.S. Attorney Beck. “While the defendant is presumed innocent, my office will vigorously prosecute those who prey on our military.”
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count and a mandatory two-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft counts. The defendant is also subject to fines, forfeiture, and mandatory restitution if convicted.
The case was investigated by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the United States Army – Criminal Investigation Division. Trial Attorney Michael Boteler of the Department’s Tax Division and Assistant United States Attorney Todd Brown are prosecuting the case.
SOURCE: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Alabama