AL women sentenced for involvement in stolen identity tax refund - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

AL women sentenced for involvement in stolen identity tax refund fraud ring

(Source: AP Images) (Source: AP Images)
(WTVM) -

Two Alabama women were sentenced on Wednesday, Feb. 24 to prison for their involvement in a stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF) conspiracy. 

According to court documents and evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, 56-year-old Pamela Ann Smith of Lanett, AL led a large-scale SIRF scheme from her tax preparation business, Jaycal Tax Service, in Phenix City, AL between 2007 and 2012.

Smith was sentenced to serve 51 months in prison. 

Smith recruited her son, Calvin Perry and his friend, Ernest Simmons, Jr., to participate in the scheme.  As part of the conspiracy, Smith, Perry and Simmons opened multiple bank accounts and rented post office boxes. 

They filed more than 1,200 federal income tax returns using the stolen personal identification information of actual individuals, which included the victims’ names and social security numbers. 

The tax returns filed by Smith and her co-conspirators sought more than $4 million in fraudulent refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

U.S. Treasury checks were mailed to physical addresses and post office boxes under Smith’s control and subsequently deposited into multiple bank accounts controlled by Smith, Perry and Simmons. 

Smith personally received more than $300,000 from this scheme.

Smith pleaded guilty in November 2015 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to filing false income tax refund claims and one count of aggravated identity theft. 

Perry and Simmons also pleaded guilty in December 2015 for their involvement in this SIRF scheme and are scheduled to be sentenced in April.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge John Antoon, II ordered Smith to serve three years of supervised release and pay restitution in the amount of $340,057.

Additionally, 52-year-old Elizabeth Grant, also known as Elizabeth Williams Grant and Ann Grant, was sentenced to serve more than five years in prison for her role the SIRF conspiracy.

Grant, a former U.S. Postal Service employee, conspired with others to obtain fraudulent income tax refunds by filing false federal income tax returns. This was done by using stolen identities between June 2012 and December 2013, according to court documents and evidence presented at the sentencing hearing.

The conspiracy included Tracy Mitchell of Phenix City, AL and Keshia Lanier of Seale, AL.

For a fee, Grant provided co-conspirators with addresses along her mail delivery route to use in filing false tax returns. Grant then retrieved the fraudulent tax refund checks from the mail and delivered the checks to her co-conspirators. 

The scheme resulted in the filing of more than 700 false returns claiming more than $1.5 million in tax refunds.

Grant pleaded guilty in November 2015 to conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims, aggravated identity theft and embezzling mail.  

Several co-conspirators, including Mitchell and Lanier, have already pleaded guilty and were sentenced for their roles in this scheme. 

On Aug. 7, 2015, Mitchell was sentenced to 159 months in prison.  On Sept. 25, 2015, Lanier was sentenced to 180 months in prison. 

In addition to the term of imprisonment, Grant was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay restitution in the amount of $978,468.

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