Robert Walker, Charnesha Alexander and Ladonna Conley
were indicted for their roles in a stolen identity refund fraud conspiracy, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ronald A. Cimino of the Justice Department's Tax Division and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. for the Middle District of Alabama announced today following the unsealing of the indictment.
According to the indictment, between January 2011 and December 2013, the defendants ran an identity theft ring. The defendants obtained stolen identities from various sources to be used in filing false tax returns, including the identities of employees from a Columbus, Georgia, company. In order to file the false tax returns, the defendants obtained several electronic filing numbers in the names of tax businesses. On behalf of those tax businesses, the defendants applied for bank products from various financial institutions, which in turn mailed blank check stock and prepaid debit cards to the defendants.
The defendants caused tax refunds to be dispersed through checks and prepaid treasury cards, and either cashed the fraudulent checks at several businesses located in Alabama and Georgia or deposited them into their bank accounts.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, each defendant faces a statutory maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison for the conspiracy charge, a statutory maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count and a mandatory two year sentence for each aggravated identity theft count. The defendants are also subject to fines, forfeiture and mandatory restitution if convicted.
The case was investigated by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorneys Michael Boteler and Charles Edgar Jr. of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown for the Middle District of Alabama are prosecuting the case.