Couple Indicted for Stealing Hundreds of Identities to Claim More Than $600,000 in False Tax Refunds
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 27, 2013|
ATLANTA—Justin Cody, also known as “Decatur Slim,” was arraigned on federal charges of conspiracy to commit theft of public funds, theft of public funds, and aggravated identity theft.
“Fraud schemes in which criminals file fraudulent tax returns and obtain fraudulent refunds using the stolen identities of innocent persons have become all too common in recent years,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “These defendants are charged with engaging in criminal activity that not only harmed the U.S. Treasury, but that also undermined financial security of the individuals whose identities were stolen.”
“These unscrupulous defendants thought they had figured out a clever scheme to thwart the IRS and steal from American taxpayers,” said Veronica Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “IRS-Criminal Investigation has made investigating refund fraud and identity theft a top priority, and we will vigorously pursue those who undermine the integrity of the U.S. tax system.”
“The indictment of Mr. Cody and Ms. Wilmore further illustrates the FBI’s efforts and commitment toward not only protecting public funds but protecting the public from those who would prey on them,” stated Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office. “The FBI will continue to work with its various law enforcement partners in combating identity theft and tax refund fraud.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: From as early as February 2013 to May 2013, Justin Cody, also known as “Decatur Slim,” and Aeshia Wilmore participated in a scheme to defraud the Department of the Treasury by filing hundreds of fraudulent income tax returns using stolen identities. This is commonly called stolen identity refund fraud. Cody used the electronic filing identification numbers of at least two tax preparer businesses, as well as the stolen identification information of hundreds of victims, along with fake wage and withholding information, to prepare the fraudulent tax returns which claimed over $600,000 in tax refunds. After the refunds were processed, Cody had the refunds applied to blank prepaid debit cards that he and Wilmore used at various ATM machines throughout the Atlanta area.
Cody, 32, of Decatur, Georgia, and Wilmore, 24, of Atlanta, Georgia, were indicted by a federal grand jury on June 25, 2013. Cody has been detained. Wilmore’s arraignment date is pending. The conspiracy to commit theft of public funds carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Each substantive count of theft of public funds carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Each of the aggravated identity theft charges carry a mandatory minimum two-year consecutive sentence to any other sentence imposed. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000. The United States is also seeking the forfeiture of all funds derived from or involved in this scheme.
The public is reminded that criminal charges are only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges, and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case was investigated by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Karlyn J. Hunter is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Affairs Office at USAGAN.Pressefirstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.