Tarrish Tellis, 38, owned the Club Iconz Bar and Grill in Montgomery, Alabama. He was also the mastermind behind a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme that stole over $700,000. Yesterday, Tellis was sentenced to 223 months in federal prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $694,366 in restitution.
On Jan. 14, a federal jury convicted Tellis of conspiracy to commit theft of public money, theft of public money and aggravated identity theft.
According to evidence presented at trial, Tellis’ co-conspirator, Nakia Jackson, obtained approximately 700 names, dates of birth and social security numbers from an employee of the Alabama Medicaid State Agency. Jackson provided some of the stolen names to Tellis, who in turn used them to file false income tax returns. In exchange, Tellis taught Jackson how to file false tax returns.
Tellis concealed the origin of the tax refund proceeds by recruiting friends and relatives, including Bobby Joe Means, Delancey Tolliver, Glen Powell Jr. and Tracey Montgomery, to open up bank accounts for the purpose of receiving the tax refunds. When the refunds were deposited into their bank accounts, Tellis directed them to withdraw the money and provide it to him. On the false tax returns submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Tellis directed more than $300,000 in refunds to be deposited in those accounts. Tellis also recruited a bank teller at Community Bank and Trust , LaQuanta Clayton, who used her position to open up bank accounts in the name of fictitious individuals and in the name of her daughter’s father. On the false tax returns submitted to the IRS, Tellis directed approximately $200,000 in refunds to be deposited into the accounts that Clayton controlled.
In 2014, Tellis’ co-conspirators were sentenced to prison for their involvement in the scheme: Jackson was sentenced to serve 87 months in prison, Clayton was sentenced to serve 21 months, Tolliver was sentenced to serve 15 months, Powell Jr. and Means were each sentenced to serve 12 months and one day, and Montgomery was sentenced to serve six months in prison.