Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Ring Members Admit Guilt
Friday, June 28th, 2013 @ 1:54AM
U.S. Attorney’s Office May 30, 2013 · Northern District of Georgia (404) 581-6000
ATLANTA—Shawn Brown, Christopher Edwards, Kelly Sue Lonas, and Nyron Nelson pleaded guilty in federal district court for their roles in an identity theft and fraudulent tax return ring that sought millions of dollars in fraudulent refunds.
“Those who file false tax refund claims using stolen identities threaten the integrity of our federal income tax system and pose a real danger to the financial security of the individuals whose identities are stolen,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Citizens of this district should know we are dedicated to prosecuting thieves like these and to deterring similar crimes.”
“IRS-Criminal Investigation has made investigating refund fraud and identity theft a top priority,” stated Veronica Hyman-Pillot SAC, Atlanta Field Office. “These individuals demonstrated a blatant disregard of the integrity of the United States tax system and caused undue hardship to innocent victims. IRS-Criminal Investigation, together with our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, remains committed to holding those who engage in similar conduct accountable.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: From approximately January 2010 to March 2013, Brown led a criminal organization that engaged in a scheme to defraud the Department of the Treasury by filing fraudulent income tax returns and negotiating fraudulent tax refunds using stolen identities. This is commonly called stolen identity refund fraud. Brown had ties to criminal organizations in Chicago and Atlanta that engaged in this type of fraud. The defendants used the stolen identities along with fake wage and withholding information to prepare over one thousand fraudulent tax returns that claimed over $5 million dollars in refunds. The defendants also established shell corporations and bank accounts to facilitate the fraud.