Criminal Justice News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Three Indicted in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Ring

Tamaica Hoskins and Roberta Pyatt, of Phenix City, Alabama, and Lashelia Alexander, of Columbus, Georgia, were indicted for their roles in a stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF) conspiracy, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Larry J. Wszalek for 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, in 2014, Hoskins and Pyatt obtained stolen identities and used those identities to file more than 1,000 federal income tax returns that claimed more than $4 million in tax refunds.  In order to carry out their fraud scheme, Hoskins and Pyatt opened up bank accounts in order to receive tax preparation fees.  In addition, Hoskins and Pyatt printed out fraudulent tax refunds using check stock provided by the financial institutions.  Hoskins, Pyatt and Alexander caused the fraudulent checks to be cashed at several businesses and banks.

If convicted, the defendants face a statutory maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison for the conspiracy to commit wire fraud count and for each wire fraud count, a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each theft of public money count and a mandatory two-year sentence in prison for the aggravated identity theft counts.  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 Gregory Bailey of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown for the Middle District of Alabama are prosecuting the case.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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