Former IRS Employee Pleads Guilty to $326,000 Fraud Scheme, Identity Theft
JEFFERSON CITY, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former employee of the Internal Revenue Service pleaded guilty in federal court today to using stolen identities in a scheme to receive $326,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.
Demetria Michele Brown, 38, of Birmingham, Ala., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth to two counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
By pleading guilty today, Brown admitted that she engaged in a scheme to submit hundreds of false and fraudulent state and federal income tax returns in order to generate refunds from 2008 to 2011. Brown, formerly of Fairview Heights, Ill., worked at an IRS office in St. Louis, Mo., during the fraud scheme.
Brown filed more than 120 fraudulent federal tax returns, resulting in a loss of approximately $211,000. Brown filed at least 236 fraudulent state tax returns, resulting in a loss of approximately $115,000, for an aggregate loss amount of approximately $326,000.
The scheme involved Brown obtaining personal identification information, including names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth of other persons without their knowledge or consent. Brown completed U.S. individual income tax returns and Missouri state income tax returns for persons using the personal identification information she had obtained, adding other information which was false and fraudulent, including the address, place of employment, wages earned, taxes withheld and the fact that a refund was due.
Under federal statutes, Brown is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole for each wire fraud count and a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in federal prison without parole for aggravated identity theft, plus a fine up to $750,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Gonzalez. It was investigated by the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Missouri Department of Revenue – Compliance and Investigation Bureau and the Missouri Department of Revenue – Criminal Investigation Bureau.