Scheme Sought Nearly $12 Million in Fraudulent Tax Refunds
An Atlanta, Georgia, woman was sentenced Monday to 56 months in prison for her role in a scheme to file false federal tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and United States Attorney Byung J. Pak for the Northern District of Georgia.
According to documents and information provided to the Court, between January 2010 and April 2014, Tiffany Lewis and her co-conspirators filed more than 5,000 false federal tax returns, many of which used stolen personal identifiable information. In total, Lewis was responsible for filing returns that claimed more than $11.9 million, and which caused the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue more than $3.7 million in fraudulent refunds.
After directing the fraudulent refunds into bank accounts they controlled, Lewis and her co-conspirators used checks and debit cards to withdraw cash or pay personal expenses. Later, when Lewis was interviewed by a Special Agent of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, Lewis lied about her involvement in the fraud scheme.
“Identity thieves have figured out that if they can steal Social Security numbers, they can file false returns with us,” said Thomas J. Holloman, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigations, Atlanta Field Office. “Stealing identities and filing false tax returns is a serious crime that hurts innocent taxpayers. Today’s sentence should serve as a strong warning to those who are considering similar conduct. Law enforcement is serious about investigating these crimes and holding to account those who would defraud the government.”
In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones ordered Lewis to serve a term of three years of supervised release and to pay restitution to the United States in the amount of $3,799,991.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Pak commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys David B. Zisserson and Sean Beaty of the Tax Division, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey A. Brown, who prosecuted the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.