TX: Killeen Trio Sentenced to Federal Prison for Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
Three Killeen, TX, residents were sentenced to federal prison for their roles in a tax refund scheme with an estimated intended loss of $1.8 million. United States District Judge Lee Yeakel sentenced 34-year-old Albert Powell, 32-year-old Paris Stephens and 34-year-old Ronnie Cole to 54 months, 36 months and 18 months in federal prison, respectively. Judge Yeakel also ordered that Powell and Stephens jointly and severally pay $852,226 in restitution to the IRS; Cole, $121,810 in restitution to the IRS.
According to court records and testimony, from 2010 to 2012, the defendants were involved in a scheme to obtain personal identification information from various sources then used it to file more than 350 fraudulent income tax returns which generally claimed refunds between $3,000 and $7,000. In July 2014, the defendants pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims and one count of fraudulent use and possession of a means of identification.
SOURCE: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Texas
Jazmine Ulloa of American-Statesman reports that some of the identity information was stolen from job applicants at a Wendy’s in Chicago, where Powell had previously been a manager.