Go Big or Go Home

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Criminals are known for ”going big” or trying to steal as much as they can so that they can live extravagant lives. (After all, they usually reason that the ill-gotten money will allow them to buy luxury items such as designer clothes, expensive cars and posh vacations. They usually don’t think about the repercussions of getting caught.) A story posted on OANow.com tells about a woman who was involved in a stolen identity tax refund ring that claimed more than $7.5 million in tax refunds. Instead of getting to spend her cut of the illegally gained funds, she now has to pay it back and it doesn’t look like she’ll get to go home any time soon.

The article explains that the former Alabama state employee, who had access to personal identification information at two state agencies, was approached by a co-conspirator who needed stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns. The former state employee provided mostly names and personal info of teenagers to the co-conspirators who then filed more than 3,000 fraudulent tax returns. (Teenagers do not usually file tax returns, so it could be years before they notice their identity had been stolen.)

The 30-year-old pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to file false claims and one count of aggravated identity theft. She received a prison sentence of 87 months to be followed by three years of supervised release. She also has to pay back nearly $3.1 million in restitution for her involvement. (Good luck on getting that back.) Several of her co-conspirators are scheduled to be sentenced as well.

When considering $7.5 million, you could say that this crime ring ”went big” in their efforts to steal as much as they could from the government. But, instead of going big or going home, this fraudster lost big and is now going to prison.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Phenix City Woman Sentenced for Stealing State Identities,” posted on OANow.com on May 19, 2015.

MONTGOMERY— A Phenix City resident and former state employee has been sentenced to serve more than seven years in prison for her role in a stolen identity tax refund fraud ring.

Tamika Floyd, 30, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge W. Keith Watkins to serve 87 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay nearly $3.1 million in restitution. Floyd pleaded guilty on Oct. 2, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to file false claims and one count of aggravated identity theft. Floyd’s co-conspirators, including Keisha Lanier, Tracy Mitchell, Latasha Mitchell, Talarious Paige and others, pleaded guilty on April 1 and are scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 7.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.