Former U.S. Postal Worker and Others Sentenced in Fraudulent Income Tax Refund Scheme
ATLANTA—Kenneth Campbell, a/k/a “Scrilla,” Corey Thomas, a/k/a “Lil Corey,” Adrian Bridges, Juarez Johnson, Justin Cody, a/k/a “Decatur Slim,” and Aeshia Wilmore have been sentenced for their roles in a $1 million fraudulent income tax refund scheme. “Identity theft unfortunately has become the crime of choice given the availability or stolen or lost personal information,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “With each offense, an innocent person’s financial livelihood is put at risk. We will continue to investigate and prosecute these crimes and will seek sentences that deter and punish this conduct.”
“Identity thieves are becoming more devious, creative, and conniving,” stated Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “These defendants perpetuated an elaborate scheme driven by insatiable greed and a blatant disregard for the tremendous damage inflicted on innocent victims. These criminals must be and will continue to be pursued in order to obtain justice for the victims as well as justice for our nation.”
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The sentencing of these individuals concludes an extensive criminal investigation that now holds those involved with victimizing so many accountable for their actions. The FBI will continue to work with its law enforcement partners in aggressively addressing these fraudulent tax refund schemes that not only victimize the U.S. Government but also those individuals whose identities have been stolen.”
According to Paul Bowman, Area Special Agent in Charge of the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, “Adrian Bridges reflects just a very small percentage of employees who failed to uphold the trust and integrity placed in them. The U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General takes these cases very serious and investigates them to the fullest extent of the law. The general public should be reminded that the majority of postal employees remain committed to exhibiting the highest moral character and trust that our customers expect and deserve.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: From as early as July 2012 to October 2013, the defendants participated in a scheme to defraud the United States Department of the Treasury and the Michigan Department of Revenue by filing hundreds of fraudulent income tax returns using stolen identities. This type of scheme is commonly called stolen identity refund fraud. Campbell and Thomas used stolen personal identification information of hundreds of victims, along with fake wage and withholding information, to prepare numerous fraudulent tax returns, claiming over $400,000 in tax refunds. After the refunds were processed, Campbell and Thomas had the refunds applied to blank prepaid debit cards that they later used for their own benefit.
In order to increase the number of fraudulent tax refunds that they could receive at one time, Campbell and Thomas had the prepaid debit cards mailed to different addresses throughout the Atlanta area. Many of these addresses were associated with an apartment complex in Cobb County, Ga., where Bridges served as a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service. Working at the direction of Campbell, Bridges would retrieve the debit cards from the United States mail and deliver them to Campbell.
During the course of the scheme, Campbell recruited Johnson, then an employee of the Fulton County Ga., Superior Court Clerk’s Office, to provide him with stolen identity information. In September 2013, Johnson accessed county databases on several occasions to obtain identity information for dozens of people who had been booked into the Fulton County Ga., Jail. Johnson later provided this identity information to Campbell.
Campbell also worked with other individuals to file fraudulent federal and state tax returns, including Justin Cody, a/k/a “Decatur Slim.” In a related case, Cody and his wife, Aeshia Wilmore, were charged for their involvement in a scheme similar to Campbell’s where they claimed over $600,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.
The defendants were convicted and sentenced by United States District Judge Steve C. Jones, as described below:
- Kenneth Campbell, a/k/a “Scrilla,” 31, of Atlanta, Ga., was convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft on August 26, 2014, after he pleaded guilty. On November 17, 2014, Campbell was sentenced to serve seven years and three months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $139,610.
- Corey Thomas, a/k/a “Lil Corey,” 28, of Atlanta, Ga., was convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft on August 26, 2014, after he pleaded guilty. On November 20, 2014, Thomas was sentenced to serve five years and one month in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $114,754.
- Adrian Bridges, 43, of Mableton, Ga., was convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail theft on August 26, 2014, after he pleaded guilty. On December 16, 2014, Bridges was sentenced to serve four years in federal prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $81,878.
- Juarez Johnson, 30, of Atlanta, Ga., was convicted of identity theft on May 15, 2014, after he pleaded guilty. On July 30, 2014, Johnson was sentenced to serve one year of probation.
- Justin Cody, a/k/a “Decatur Slim,” 33, of Atlanta, Ga., was convicted on charges of theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft on November 22, 2013, after he pleaded guilty. On April 28, 2014, Cody was sentenced to serve seven years and three months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $150,329.
- Aeshia Wilmore, 26, of Atlanta, Ga., was convicted of theft of government funds on November 22, 2013, after she pleaded guilty. On April 28, 2014, Wilmore was sentenced to serve two years in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $150,329.
This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General.
Assistant United States Attorney Nekia S. Hackworth prosecuted the case.
For further information, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.Pressefirstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.