PHILADELPHIA (November 2018)(CNBNewsnet)– First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced today that six Philadelphia women, several of whom are sisters and cousins, have been sentenced to prison and ordered to pay restitution for their role in a scheme to defraud the United States through the filing of false claims for tax refunds.
The six defendants all pleaded guilty and admitted to engaging in a scheme to present false federal income tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in order to generate fraudulent federal income tax refunds. Dozens of false tax returns were filed with the IRS, often using names and social security numbers stolen from individuals who were unaware their personal identifiers were being used to perpetrate the fraud.
Defendant Larayna Dunson, the mastermind behind this tax refund scheme, recruited family members, friends, and social acquaintances to participate. Initially, the defendants provided taxpayer’s information (i.e., names and social security numbers) to Dunson, who in turn fabricated multiple federal income tax returns. The defendants then shared the fraudulent refunds obtained. Dunson subsequently taught the co-defendants how to prepare false returns using the stolen identity information. Her co-defendants then began filing fraudulent tax returns and obtaining false refunds themselves. The total amount of fraudulent income tax refunds obtained and deposited into accounts controlled by the defendants exceeded $600,000. The defendants used these stolen funds for living expenses, including rent and cars.
In addition to sentencing each defendant to a term of imprisonment, Judge Brody ordered the defendants to pay restitution in the total amount of $1,007,080.
“Tax fraudsters wreak havoc on the victims whose identities they steal and on the efficient operation of the IRS,” said First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams. “The government loses millions of dollars of revenue each year because of criminals looking for ways to cheat the tax system, and we will continue to hold them accountable for their crimes.”
“These defendants perpetuated an elaborate scheme driven by insatiable greed and a blatant disregard for the tremendous damage inflicted on innocent victims,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Guy Ficco. Be assured that IRS Criminal Investigation is serious about investigating these crimes and holding to account those who prey on innocent victims and defraud the government.”
The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Denise S. Wolf.