(WTVM) – A resident of Phenix City was sentenced to serve more than 12 years in prison for leading a multi-million dollar stolen identity theft ring.
This is according to U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama and acting assistant Attorney General Caroling D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department's Tax Division.
Tamaica Hoskins, 34, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit over a million dollars in proceeds from the scheme by U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade of the Southern District of Alabama.
According to court documents, between Sept. 2011 and June 2014, ring leader Hoskins, Roberta Pyatt, Lashelia Alexander and others used stolen identities to file more than 1,000 false federal income tax returns. These returns claimed more than $4 million in tax refunds.
Hoskins obtained stolen identities from various sources, including the identities of employees from a Columbus, GA company. In order to file the false tax returns, Hoskins and Pyatt obtained two Electronic Filing Identification Numbers using sham tax businesses.
At sentencing, prosecutors read impact statements from several victims whose identities were stolen and false tax returns were filed in their names.
Roberta Pyatt pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced in the Middle District of Alabama on July 16.
"Stolen identity refund fraud is a nationwide epidemic that causes substantial harm to the individuals whose identities are stolen, and a significant loss to the U.S. Treasury. Prosecuting those who engage in this criminal conduct is among our highest priorities, and as today's sentence demonstrates, those who orchestrate these schemes will face lengthy periods of incarceration and steep monetary penalties," stated Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo.