Stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF) is an extremely serious crime that affects all taxpayers and can cause lingering harm for individuals whose identities are stolen. Three Alabama residents — Chiquanta and Terrence Davis and Laurekshia Blakely —pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges related to the SIRF scheme: Ms. Davis pleaded guilty to theft of public funds, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to file false claims. Mr. Davis and Ms. Blakely pleaded guilty to theft of public funds. The defendants now have been sentenced to prison for their part in the SIRF scheme. Ms. Davis was sentenced to 66 months in prison, Mr. Davis to 18 months, and Ms. Blakely to six months. Following their prison terms, each defendant will also serve three years of supervised release.
SIRF Scheme and Related Tax Fraud Claimed Over $2.2 Million in Fraudulent Refunds
According to the Justice Department, in 2010 Ms. Davis operated a fraudulent tax business out of her home. Ms. Davis opened a bank account in the company’s name, It’s Tax Time, and requested that fraudulent tax refunds totaling $1,458,600 be deposited into that account. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) identified and intercepted many of the fraudulent tax refunds, but Ms. Davis still received significant funds into the bank account. With those illicit funds, Ms. Davis bought, among other things, a Cadillac Escalade. Pursuant to the plea agreement, she will forfeit the Cadillac Escalade.
In 2011, Ms. Davis assisted in the filing of fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities. In the first half of 2011, a total of 192 false tax returns were filed from Ms. Davis’ home requesting a total of $769,223 in fraudulent tax refunds. The tax refunds were directed to a number of bank accounts, including accounts controlled by Ms. Davis, her husband, and Ms. Blakely.
Whistleblowers Protect Taxpayers when They Report Tax Fraud
Whistleblowers can make a difference for all taxpayers by coming forward with evidence of stolen identity tax refund fraud or other types of tax fraud. The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 allows the IRS Whistleblower Office to provide whistleblowers with financial awards in certain circumstances.
If you have evidence of tax fraud, you can make a difference. Learn about your legal rights as a whistleblower by talking to a whistleblower lawyer at Waters & Kraus. Contact us or call our attorneys at 800.226.9880 to learn more about our practice and how we can assist.